Dr Jordan Nguyen’s aim is to make advanced technology deliver independence to people with disabilities and harness the power o f the mind to do it. Working at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Dr Nguyen met Riley Saban a 13-year-old with severe cerebal palsy, who was getting assessed for an eye tracking device, through which he communicates.
”The smart wheelchair provides obstacle detection and mapping in real-time.”
Dr Nguyen was able to harness Riley’s most reliable voluntary movements – those from his eyes – to allow the boy to turn electrical objects on and off . Using electrooculography, Riley’s brain activity corresponding to four different eye movements was detected, transmitted to a computer, interpreted by artificial intelligence, and used to control the devices.
Nguyen has previously worked on a smart wheelchair which provides obstacle detection and mapping in real-time. It can be controlled by the user by either head movements or thoughts.
Grinding mills are the primary ore reducing device at many mineral concentration plants. When these are shut down for maintenance, the entire mine production stream stops and can cost the mine many tens of thousands of dollars per hour. Relining is a complex maintenance task carried out by large crews, using a wide variety of tools and equipment.
The Mill Reline Director program was designed to model the complex interaction of tasks associated with the relining of grinding mills and provide a tool that allows statistically defensible recommendations for change. When the program is used for a full detailed study, an actual reline is recorded and the task durations are measured and reduced to time/frequency variables and the mill installation is constructed.
“Relining is a complex maintenance task carried out by large crews.”
A reference simulation is normalised to the actual reline and then various scenarios are run to identify opportunities for improvement.
Respiratory illnesses are difficult to diagnose without access to imaging and laboratory facilities. Dr Udantha Abeyratne has developed a diagnostic technology based on the mathematical analysis of cough.
The cough is a cardinal symptom of respiratory disease, but its quantitative analysis is not used in diagnosis.
The team developed disease-specific features and machine learning technology capable of diagnostic accuracies in the order of 90% compared to diagnosis by specialists.
The technology is automated and available on smartphones; no extra attachments, network access or body contact with the patient are required.
Prof Trevor Bird’s introduction of computer-based methods into antenna design led to a number of engineering innovations, including the design of shaped beams for Australia for the AUSSAT II series of satellites, antenna beams for North America and Europe, the demonstration to major satellite companies that cycle times from design to flight hardware could be halved with accurate computer-based methods and the development of the world’s first multibeam radio telescope.
He recently completed two projects with collaborators. The first involved four uniform half-width microstrip leaky wave antennas, which were combined to create a steerable beam in a desired direction by changing the propagation constant of the leaky waves on the transmission lines.
The second project also used a printed microstrip antenna to produce a mantel cloak with an application of reducing reflector supporting strut scatter.
Prof Bird has also just written a book, Fundamentals of aperture antennas and arrays: From theory to design, fabrication and testing.
“The second project also used a printed microstrip antenna to produce a mantel cloak.”
A key component of natural hazard management, disaster risk reduction, and business continuity is understanding risk and the ability to react rapidly when an event occurs.
Understanding risk to support recovery requires knowledge of the vulnerability and consequences to the hazard. Assessment takes time, which delays recovery or business continuity. It also takes resources which, following a major hazard event, may be in short supply or stressed.
To address this gap, Dr Tim Mote developed the Hazard Owl, which aggregates and assesses real-time multihazard data with asset-specific triggers in a risk context.
The brain is an extraordinary and mysterious computing device. Unlike conventional electronics that stores information as a collection of zeros and ones, our memories are not just black and white. It is more complex and relies on context.
Dr Sriram’s team has demonstrated memory cells, down to the size of a few nanometres, that store multiple information states – like a dimmer switch, rather than the conventional on/off switch.
The cells also store information based on prior information, demonstrating cognition, the functional hardware for artificial intelligence. The breakthrough was achieved by a combination of materials engineering, electronics, and micro/nano-fabrication.