The impact of corona is unprecedented and demands a rethink of the Australian outsourcing approach offshore that has undermined manufacturing and our economy for the last few decades. One area that clearly can benefit immediately and needs urgent attention is the construction and infrastructure sector, a monolithic and unchanged sector that has become essential in maintaining a certain level of economic standards as technologies tend to have moved off shore for so long. Unfortunately, dense living and poorly designed buildings are impacting in deleterious way our health and are part of the factors that have allowed coronavirus to explode globally - this calls for change in all aspects of this and related sectors, from materials to sensors and more. For a succinct review of this issue and indeed massive opportunity for Australia to draw on please read Prof Canning's article on coronavirus and opportunities for Australia and the world. Evidently, there is plenty of opportunity for innovation and invention as well as penetrative intellectual enlightenment so let's hope this time around they are taken up.
- Congratulations to Luke Gordon PhD student at the University of Sydney for his startup pitch at the Medical Device Commercialisation Training Program GRADUATION & SHOWCASE 2020. Luke has been working on a photonics device that can be used in the home to slow down or stop the progression of Parkinsons disease to potentially enhance the quality of life for sufferers or those beginning to show symptoms. Interestingly, the technology is no unlike the old hair loss programs that stimulated hair growth using red light - is there a possible correlation between follicular challenges and Parkinsons? You can see Luke's presentation here: Neurospec. Luke is the second associate member of iPL to feature on the MedTech Progam, following the original footsteps of Dr Sandra Ast who first pioneered smartphone based or linked diagnostics for test strip analysis, a technology that can make practical measurements in the field that might otherwise have to wait for pathology facilities to undertake. It's interesting to see both have had similar presentation approaches with photonics and similar program outcomes. Both are extremely important, indeed disruptive, photonic technologies that have the potential to transform lives although both face enormous challenges obtaining sufficient funding up front to remain within Australia, something we hope changes given the recent recognition since coronavirus that we need to retain medical expertise and capability in Australia. In general it was interesting to see the quality of the competition on average was much higher than previous years, a sign that the program is maturing.
- Congratulations to the SmartCrete CRC, led from UTS by Prof Natalie Lloyd, for going beyond stage 2 and getting up in 2020. iPL through UTS is a partner with substantial projects on smart concrete led by Dr. Nadarajah Gowriplan and Prof John Canning. This particular CRC brings together similar research across universities in an important and contemporary sector.
- Congratulations to the civil engineering team for establishing a replica bridge within Tech Lab upon which sensor trials using fibre Bragg gratings can be performed. This bridge is a showcase element when completed for students, researchers, industry and the public. More information can be obtained from Prof Jianchun Li who is Director for the Centre for Built Infrastructure Research (CBIR) at UTS.
- Prof Canning has suggested a new research direction in novel pandemic research buildings, or PRBs, when he recognised that a significant amounts of infrastructure are pandemic friendly in light of the corona experience, potentially accelerating the rate of infection unnecessarily because of poor building design and practices. In Australia this comes on top of the problems exacerbated by poor building design during the bush-fires where many newer building are in fact smoke traps, leading to higher density smoke within a building than outside during the smoke that covered Sydney. These same problems could be impacting viral enhancement within structures like cruise ships suggesting entire infrastructure needs reinvention - pandemic resistance cruise-liners, or PRCs, is clearly the way forward to saving the boat holiday industry. The role of embedded photonics in reliable diagnostics and sensing is critical. Prof Canning welcomes discussions and collaborations to help pursue this direction of research given that this is a national priority of importance to the wider community.
- iPL has successfully brought UTS into the RealTEchX program led by Taronga Ventures as a partner institution. RealTechX supports emerging technology businesses in the real estate sector and the wider built environment (’RealTech’) to achieve sustained growth. RealTechX supports late-stage growth businesses (i.e. not start-ups or scale-ups) that have a track record of successful implementation and are positioned to have an immediate impact on the real estate sector. The program is supported by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, professional services partners (KPMG High Growth Ventures, KPMG Legal, BWM Dentsu), tertiary and research partners (UNSW, Monash, UTS, CSIRO’s venture commercialisation ON program) and the entrepreneurship programs of leading global technology corporates (AWS, Microsoft, IBM and Google).
- Welcome to our first batch of capstones undertaking their two semester projects through iPL: Allan Tran, Kan Kanj, Michael Logozzo, Patrick Rayamahji and David Nguyen. They will be working projects spanning novel 3D printers, printing ceramics and other novel materials, testing, 5G safety and drone technologies. For potential novel industry applications and materials please contact Prof Canning.
- In an example of cross disciplinary and international collaboration in the agricultural space, novel immunoassays for pesticide detection were demonstrated and accepted for publication in the journal Analyst. This work involves iPL, Aussi Systems (a startup leading smartphone flow test diagnostics founded by former post doctoral fellow Dr Sandra Ast) and BAM in Germany, one of the worlds leading diagnostics research groups led by Prof. Knut Rurack. Keep an eye out for the article as it demonstrates the potential for lateral flow testing in novel application areas. These tests are also of significance in developing fast testing for aircraft and other ares where pesticides are necessary to help stop pests invading regions. For more potential collaborations in agriculture or medicine please contact us.
- Led by former PhD student, now Associate Professor, Arafat Hossain, currently at the prestigious Khulna University of Engineering and Technology in Bangladesh, the work on olive oil characterization using smartphone spectrometers pioneered at iPL has been published in IEEE Sensors (More). It describes how the fast degradation of extra virgin olive oil in light can be used to ascertain its vitality. As well, it also indicates many olive oil samples accused of being fraudulent may not be so - they have simply deteriorated within inappropriate packaging.
- Building on earlier work involving smart horse gait measurements in collaboration with Brazilian colleagues led by Prof Cicero Martelli, this work explores the use of fibre Bragg gratings embedded within show insoles produced by additive manufacture to study similarly human gait. It is a collaborative effort between iPL and the Centre for Artificial Intelligence (CAI) at UTS and UTFPR in Brazil to look at new ways of benefiting human and animal health in a positive display of technology and civility. It reflects common goals that stretch across the entire southern hemisphere.
- Congratulations to students Karen Colapinto and Benjamin Linder and Ben's employer M. Cengic from Environmental Automation Pty Ltd, whose work with iPL on assessing both photonic and eletronic sensing IoT networks in smart buildings has been accepted for presentation at the Optical Fibre Sensors Conference, US (being rescheduled due to the Corona virus).
- Former student Kireesan Sornalingham's work on the novel and practical use of advanced air-clad fibres, processed by arc or laser collapse, to enable novel photo-catalysis of unwanted hormones in water has been published in the Journal of Water Process Engineering. This is an important piece of work because it enables practical utilization of otherwise lab restricted solutions in the field. These novel fibres can help take laboratory ideas and trials into the real world, both industrial and natural.
- As part of our ongoing collaborations with Universite Paris Sud, Saclay Universite and Prof Matthieu Lancry, visiting student Asma Ziyani works on novel 3D printed grating packaging for optical fibre gratings (short or long period) and demonstrates a simple, low cost method for introducing and tailoring chirp, reported in a recently accepted article for Opt Lett. A provisional patent is in place for any industry partner that wishes to commercialise the technology (Please contact Prof Canning).
- iPL welcomes the first series of Group projects from Transmission Systems Course being undertaken across our facilities at Tech Lab and elsewhere. This marks an important development in improving further quality and novelty of training of our Masters Students with an aim to get them potentially able to undertake high level research within industry and even future PhDs. Industry input and sponsorship of our projects is welcome - please contact Prof Canning.
2019-2020 In honor of those lost to contagions everywhere
Corona or COVID-19 is now spreading across the world creating an impact that has taken many lives and devastated many businesses and has impacted education in a profound way. The serious shortcomings of many national leaders underscores how little progress has been made in terms of preparedness and civility, leading to a spread of unprecedented levels in human history. It reflects strongly that many leaders have simply forgotten their responsibilities to the welfare of their people, not their political careers, power grabs and personal gains - from national leaders to organisation heads all have failed the people they serve. iPL pays homage to those that have lost their lives, are permanently affected or impacted by this unnecessary contagion and send a strong rebuke to the leadership that has contributed to the extent of impact this contagion has had - to those so-called "leaders" we call you out and identify you as the rot of civilization that holds humanity back. Do the right thing and step down with heads bowed. Lest we forget.