How an early love of robots led Damith to UTS
Even when he was growing up in Kandy, Sri-Lanka, Damith Herath saw his future in robotics. He created his first humanoid robot, with a body carved from wood and foam legs at the age of 12. “It had a motor underneath so it could go backwards and forwards,” he says. “I built a little amplifier and put a speaker in the head so I could talk through it using a mic.”
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at Sri Lanka’s largest university, Damith headed straight to the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to pursue his PhD. The Faculty of Engineering and IT had just set up a Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems – just the thing for a young man with a passion for robotics. “Everything came together at the right time,” Damith says.
A relentless focus on the future
His UTS experience fuelled Damith’s relentless focus on the future. He’s now an award-winning entrepreneur and roboticist. One of his robotic projects, a finalist in the Engineering Excellence Awards, was installed for three years at Sydney’s famous Powerhouse Museum. He also co-founded his own technology consultancy, Robological, bringing human-robot interaction into commercial projects. After roles as a visiting professor at Curtin University and the University of NSW, Damith is now establishing the robotics program at the University of Canberra. He still has fond memories of the five years he spent at UTS. “I really loved the community feel of the engineering faculty, especially the postgraduate team,” he says. “It was like a close-knit family.”
At the forefront of a challenging industry
The UTS Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology prepares students to take their place in the forefront of a diverse and challenging industry. Undergraduate and postgraduate students enjoy a future focused campus, with innovative facilities designed to turn traditional learning on its head. Digitally-equipped classrooms, collaborative theatres and study spaces adapt to support group work, technology-enabled activities and practice-based learning. Data comes to life in the interactive 3D Data Arena – a 360-degree data visualisation facility with a high-performance computer graphics system. Students also have access to Australia’s most advanced additive manufacturing facility, the UTS ProtoSpace, for hands-on experience creating real prototypes. This practical, industry-focused education cultivates exceptional engineering professionals.
- Damith is passionate about robots which led him to starting at UTS
- His work ethic encompasses the relelentless focus on the future
- His engineering ingenuity was recognised by receiving multiple awards for his work