Damien Balachandran has recently been named as one of ‘Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers’ for his work in tackling accidents caused by driver fatigue.
He says studying a Bachelor of Engineering at ANU has been one of the best experiences of his life.
“Studying engineering at ANU allowed me to learn about myself in a safe environment. This led me to being a more confident individual overall and gave me a desire to empower others to feel confident about their own lives!”
Damien received the International Undergraduate Scholarship Award from the College and moved from Kuala Lumpur to Canberra in 2009. The combination of the University’s reputation, the opportunity to study overseas in a safe and supportive environment and the scholarship led Damien to study at ANU.
“I came to ANU because of its top ranking in Australia and I also wanted to take up the challenge of studying in one of the best universities in the world,” he said.
Damien lived in Bruce Hall while studying at ANU and made the most of his time living on campus by being involved in campus activities and taking advantage of the many opportunities available to students including international study.
“I was an academic mentor, a bass player for the Bruce Band and the Buttery Coordinator (the bar man) for the hall.
“I was also fortunate to be part of the Global Summer Programme which took me to the University of Tokyo for a few weeks.”
Since graduating, Damien has been working as a Hardware Engineer at Seeing Machines, a start up from ANU. He played a key role in the development of ‘Guardian’, a product that can manage driver fatigue through computer vision.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate in being able to be part of this innovative company and have been working on a product that can manage fatigue of a driver through computer vision.”
Guardian can reduce fatigue events by up to 90% and saves lives through prevention and protection. The product has been recognised nationally, leading to Damien recently being named as one of Australia’s most innovative engineers from Engineers Australia.
“I was very thrilled to be able to represent ANU and Seeing Machines on a national level.”
“I’ve always been fascinated with trying to find out how the world worked together and how we interacted with the world through our inventions. Engineering gave me the skills I needed to continue learning to improve our way of life through science and technology.”
Damien said his university experience helped him to develop skills that are essential to the workplace and also helped him start his career as an engineer.
“The systems engineering approach that ANU instilled in me, has allowed me to ensure that I consider the wider factors of a decision before coming to a conclusion. This has been beneficial for me as I continue my development as an engineer to better understand how to design products for the benefit of society and the environment.”
“The skills I acquired at ANU have allowed me to hone my soft skills through networking and constant interactions during group assignments and in college. This has allowed me to better dialogue with colleagues, customers and management in a manner that is suitable for each situation.”
His advice to students is to work hard but make sure you make time to have fun.
“Work hard to understand what you are doing because the details matter. That being said, don’t forget to have a good time with the people around you because they matter too!”