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Past Project in Detail

Australia Post - design & build prototype of electronic sensor


Trinh Huynh (QUT student) with the prototype board that he designed   L to R: Barry Johnston (Australia Post) and Trinh Huynh (QUT student)   Trinh's device is used to 'log' mail in street post boxes (SPB)  


Project duration: 1st semester, 2003

Student: Trinh Huynh, B.Engineering (Electronics) / B.Information Technology


This project was conducted for the Queensland Electronic Design section of Australia Post, located at West End. This division provides innovation through research and new designs to improve the quality of their Mail Network service. This section also provides maintenance of Australia Post equipment used around Queensland.

Many different types of mail articles are posted in SPB’s including small parcels, small and large letters. The amount of mail posted in an SPB can vary greatly due to its location and the time of year. Australia Post wanted to gather information regarding the quantity of mail posted in a selected SPB. Over time, these devices will help to identify trends in mail logging.

To gather this information, Barry Johnston, Senior Engineer, Australia Post wanted to develop a portable electronic device, which will enable Australia Post to survey usage of ‘street posting boxes’ (SPB). Barry said “the ‘red boxes’ are very important, as they are the public face of Australia Post”. Therefore, it is vital that SPB’s are conveniently positioned for customers and for mail collection.

Australia Post didn’t have enough internal resources to conduct this project. Therefore, Barry felt that the CEED Program “offered an opportunity for Australia Post to develop their device, and a good opportunity to work with QUT”.


Trinh Hunyh’s objective was to produce a prototype of a SPB mail ‘logger’, which logs when mail is deposited into a ‘red box’.

During his project, Trinh had to:

· Determine a suitable sensor technology capable of detecting the mail articles that are deposited into an SPB

· Implement this technology into a device that an Australia Post officer can attach inside the SPB that is to be monitored

· Download the survey information from the device onto a computer through a serial port

· Design the device so that it can be attached inside both small and medium sized SPB’s


Trinh successfully designed, built and tested a working prototype (alpha stage). The first production prototype has now been built and tested by Australia Post. Acceptance testing is about to commence and, if successful, up to 20 devices will be built and placed in SPB’s around Queensland. Barry Johnston mentioned that there is also potential for national interest in the device.

According to Barry, “within Queensland state management, they are very impressed with the fact that Trinh’s model is working and was achieved on time”.

Well done Trinh and congratulations on the High Distinction you were awarded for your project.

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