Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Sean Powell
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (AQF)
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering
Professor Mia Woodruff
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering

External supervisors

  • Renee Nightingale, PhD student


Each year, millions of people suffer from traumatic tissue damage due to cancers, congenital defects or injury. Biofabrication is the rapid 3D printing of replacement tissue and organs that are customised to the specific needs of the patient. This future of manufacturing technology is set to revolutionise regenerative medicine and deliver high quality health outcomes. The Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology group is a world class multi-disciplinary research team focused on embedding biofabrication into routine clinical use.

Based at our state-of-the-art labs at QUT Kelvin Grove Campus, aligned with the Centre for Biomedical Technologies, our research has generated new knowledge on tissue-scaffold interaction leading to next generation technology development.

Microtia is a congenital condition that occurs in approximately 1 in 5000 births and is often associated with conductive hearing problems. This combination of a visible malformation and a hearing impairment can lead to considerable psychosocial effects for the patient. The current fabrication of external silicone protheses for aesthetic repair of the ear is labour intensive, expensive and highly invasive for the patient. The use of 3D scanning technologies and advanced manufacturing can provide a minimally invasive alternative to traditional fabrication methods. However medical imaging and 3D surface scanners commercially available are expensive, require specialized training and are often not designed specifically to capture the morphology of the patient within the context of routine clinical use.

The Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology (BTM) group has previously developed a low-cost 3D scanning framework using smartphone photogrammetry to frugally capture the external ear and validate its use by novice operators. This work is being developed with the aim to further the translation of economic 3D scanning to capture patient morphology into the clinic.

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Research activities

The student can expect to be doing hands-on work in the laboratory learning a series of different 3D scanning devices, modelling and analysis software. The student will also learn how to setup and conduct an experimental study with human participants.


The aim of this project is to validate an economic smartphone 3D scanning technique against current commercial photogrammetry applications. It is expected that the 3D scanning technique developed by the team will be competitive against commercial photogrammetry applications for smartphones.

Skills and experience

We are seeking high-achieving QUT undergraduate students in medical, mechanical or mechatronics engineering, who have an interest and experience with 3D scanning, CAD modelling and 3D printing.

Students are expected to attend the weekly BTM group meetings, Tuesdays 9-10:30am at KG-Q430, as well as subgroup meetings with your immediate supervisory team and collaborators. Students will need to undertake a building induction for KG-Q and lab-specific inductions and equipment training relevant to your project.



Contact the supervisor for more information.