People SHIFT Studio Projects

What do zebras, girl guides and virtual cars have in common?

Saturday August 3, 2019

GirlGuidingNZ project

Some of the Christchurch SHIFT students, working in conjunction with GirlGuiding NZ built a youth-focused interface as part of a world-first project in digitising GirlGuiding badges. The project built on the skills that the students had learnt during the ICT fundamentals and earlier studio projects, and interfaced with an external learning management system via API calls. 

Sophie Harland, Development Manager at GirlGuiding New Zealand said, “We were absolutely blown away with how much they managed to do in 4 weeks with the functionality and appearance of the website”.

From left: SHIFT student Nhan,  Hayley and Sophie from GirlGuidingNZ,  Jennifer, Leon and Jane are all smiles following their successful SHIFT studio project.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson

Big Brother Big Sisters of NZ (BBBS)

This organisation pairs up adult mentors with children between 6 - 12 years of age.  Mentors with Big Brother Big Sisters  Christchurch have access to a range of exclusive special offers and events, but had no easy way to access these details when they are out and about with their mentees. 

SHIFT students developed a full-stack web application that provided mentors with a way to access events and offers, and staff at BBBS  Christchurch can now load new events and offers as they become available, and they are in the process of rolling out access to the web app to their volunteer mentors.   

Helping the helpers: (From left) SHIFT students Teo, Joshua, Foster, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Manager Matthew Button, Andrea and Aidan developed a 'deals' app to allow BBBS mentors to easily access discounts and events when out with their mentees.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson


In Dunedin, one SHIFT team worked with FinTech company PocketSmith to analyse options and find the best business data visualisation tool for use by their marketing team.   Head of Marketing Dora Yip was very impressed with how quickly the students were able to come up with a recommendation, and also how their insightful questions have inspired some interesting lines of discussion within the company. "It is always good to get fresh eyes upon a set of work, to bring a new perspective. We really enjoyed working with the group on this project." 

From Left: Jason Leong (Pocketsmith Founder), Olav Gustavson (Marketing), Shift students Ben and Alex, Dora Yip (Pocketsmith Head of Marketing), and Jane and Max relax after their SHIFT studio project presentation at SIGNAL.   — Image by: Kylie Jackson


The team working with zebras were actually not herding animals..... but images! They developed a survey platform to randomise and present in pairs, images from three countries showing pedestrian crossings, to allow NZ drivers to select which ones they thought were the most visible (and hence the safest).  

This survey project was submitted by Kylie Heard of civil infrastructure engineering firm Stantec, and when fully tested will be sent to tens of thousands of AA (Automobile Association) members to gather driver feedback and help influence safer zebra crossing designs. 

Kylie from Stantec (left) worked with the SHIFT team to develop a survey platform to be used for widespread data collection through the AA drivers group later this year. Congratulations to Christine, Terence, Tahlia and Mark.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson

Otago Polytechnic

OP Accounting graduate Lee and his team, Kay, Farrell and Karl developed a software programme to enable Excel Spreadsheet assignments from a whole class, to be marked at the push of a button.    While it used to take the lecturer at least a whole morning to mark dozens of accounting assignments manually, the new programme means he "has just got the kettle boiled for a cuppa,  and the majority of the work has been done."  The programme also allows moderating, weighting and corrections of marks - great work team!   

From left: Farrell, Lee, Kay and Karl designed a programme to mark Excel spreadsheet accounting assignments in just a matter of seconds, for a lecturer at Otago Polytechnic.   — Image by: Kylie Jackson

CoDrivr -  Virtual reality Driver Training 

One of the things that makes VR so immersive is the sound. This group worked with Dunedin based  VR company CoDrivr, whose founder is rally car driver Rhys Gardner.   Their mission is to improve driver training and reduce accidents and injury, both on or off our roads, by increasing driving skills before learners even get behind the wheel of a real car.   This involved recording, engineering and integrating realistic car sounds into the platform, via a number of audio software products.  

Find out more about CoDrivr here:

Kerian, Victor and Colin (standing from left) from SHIFT worked to improve the soundtrack of virtual reality driver training technology developed by CoDrivr in Dunedin.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson


Interviewing over a dozen farmers and contractors gave this group a very clear view of user requirements to incorporate into the design of an app in conjunction with TracMap.  John and Anna from Tracmap were impressed by the quality and amount of research and user experience design that the team achieved in just over five weeks,  and are looking forward to implementing this into upcoming products.  As AgriTech is one of NZ's fastest growing areas, these skills are sure to be in high demand in the very near future. 

Do you have a project idea for a group or an individual SHIFT student?

Get in touch with us at to see if we can work with you to achieve great results.  

Practical on-farm technology: This SHIFT group worked with Otago-based Tracmap to design an app for farmers to place orders from their farm.  (From left) SHIFT students Carolien, Anita, Jos (standing), Lynda, with Tracmap staff John and Anna.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson

Photo Gallery

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