BHP Billiton leading the way in mine optimisation tools

The strategic planning of open pit mining projects that span several decades is critical to achieving maximum project value.

To address this issue, BHP Billiton Global Technology has developed a mine planning optimisation software tool called Blasor™. By using optimal mine planning software, strategic planners can now determine ultimate pit sizes and pit development plans that deliver maximum value over the life of the mine.

Continue reading BHP Billiton leading the way in mine optimisation tools

Reading the hidden clock in a grain of sand

Zenobia Jacobs, University of Wollongong. Credit: timothyburgess.net
Zenobia Jacobs, University of Wollongong. Credit: timothyburgess.net

Dr Zenobia Jacobs wants to know where we came from, and how we got here. When did our distant ancestors leave Africa and spread across the world? Why? And when was Australia first settled?

Continue reading Reading the hidden clock in a grain of sand

Rugged electronic tags to track frozen cord blood and stem cells

Tough electronics is needed to track stem cells.
Tough electronics is needed to track stem cells.

Melbourne company bluechiip has invented tracking chips that survive cryogenic temperatures, high temperature sterilisation and irradiation.

Now they’re planning to use the chips to track submissions to cord blood and stem cell banks.

Continue reading Rugged electronic tags to track frozen cord blood and stem cells

Rapid expansion in NZ and WA astronomy

Teams from Australia, India and North America are collaborating to creat the Murchison Widefield Array Radio Telescope. Credit: David Herne, ICRAR
Teams from Australia, India and North America are collaborating to create the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. Credit: David Herne, ICRAR

Western Australia’s International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is only three months old but is rapidly expanding—much like the early Universe. ICRAR’s scientists have ambitious projects ahead contributing to global science and engineering through the SKA.

Continue reading Rapid expansion in NZ and WA astronomy

Supercomputer to test nanoparticles before we make them

Playing with virtual gold nanoparticles. Credit: Amanda Barnard, CSIRO
Playing with virtual gold nanoparticles. Credit: Amanda Barnard, CSIRO

Every new technology brings opportunities and threats. Nanotechnology is no exception. It has the potential to create new materials that will dramatically improve drug delivery, medical diagnostics, clean and efficient energy, computing and more. But nanoparticles could also have significant health and environmental impacts.

Continue reading Supercomputer to test nanoparticles before we make them

From bionic ear to bionic eye

An example of the microchip that will be inserted into retinas to help restore sight. Credit: NICTA
An example of the microchip that will be inserted into retinas to help restore sight. Credit: NICTA

Melbourne scientists gave Australia the first practical bionic ear. Today, over 180,000 people hear with the help of the cochlear implant.

Now, The University of Melbourne is a key member in an Australian consortium developing an advanced bionic eye that will restore vision to people with severe vision loss. This device will enable unprecedented high resolution images to be seen by thousands of people with severely diminished sight, allowing them to read large print and recognise faces.

Continue reading From bionic ear to bionic eye

Goanna team finds software bugs before they bite

nicta_Goanna_pg 6Software bugs are expensive. Typically, software developers waste around a quarter of their time testing and debugging programs. The later bugs are detected in the software development process the more expensive they are, and the more they delay the product launch. This is especially true in the case of embedded systems software which has to be developed at the same time as the hardware. If a bug gets through, it may mean millions of dollars is spent recalling the product.

Continue reading Goanna team finds software bugs before they bite