For complete profiles, photos and videos, and more information on the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, visit www.science.gov.au/pmscienceprizes
The Australia-Indonesia Centre are its supporters are funding collaborative research in energy, health, infrastructure, urban water, and food and agriculture. Here are some highlights.
Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology are working on:
- Gravitational waves—looking further
- Lenses a fraction of a hair’s width, faster communication and better solar cells
- Quantum computers with photons
- Tuning out our internal voices
- Harnessing the data from everything that’s online
A large, star-shaped molecule is being harnessed by a University of Melbourne team to kill superbugs.
Professor Greg Qiao and his colleagues from the Melbourne School of Engineering have created a polymer that kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria by ripping apart their cell walls. Continue reading Using stars to overpower superbugs
In Western Australia’s Pilbara iron ore mines, a fleet of robot trucks are moving more than a billion tonnes of dirt and rock. The giant trucks carry 350 tonnes in every load. They’ve been developed over the past decade in partnership with Komatsu.
“Rio Tinto and Japan’s Komatsu came together to produce not just the robots but a technology that is immensely useful to Rio Tinto.
Putting those things together has produced a fantastic result,” says Tetsuji Ohashi, the CEO of Komatsu.
“Mining in the future is all about moving lots and lots of material more efficiently,” says Michael Gollschewski, the MD of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara mines.
“Today we’ve got controllers sitting in the operation centre in Perth, overseeing 72 autonomous trucks 1500 km away in the Pilbara across three different sites. It’s amazing,” he says.
A transparent, silk-derived implant that looks like a contact lens and can fix damaged eardrums is giving hope to millions who suffer from recurrent ear infections.
Creators of the device—from the Australian Research Council’s Future Fibres Research Hub and the Perth-based Ear Science Institute Australia (ESIA)—secured funding to start human clinical trials with it in Australia in 2018.
The implant, called ClearDrum, is made from silk protein that forms a see-through scaffold on which cells can grow to close eardrum perforations. Continue reading Touch of silk to repair ruptured eardrums
A new index on digital inclusion is setting out a path for all Australians to get the vital benefits that come with internet access.
Information and communication technologies have become near-essential for everyday life, but many people in low income, remote and vulnerable communities can’t access them. Continue reading The dream to get every Australian connected online
A fingernail-sized sensor with nanodots that can detect the presence of heavy metals has been developed by Victorian scientists.
It offers a cheap and simple method of testing whether water is drinkable.
Scientists from RMIT University are helping businesses across Europe and Australia harness the power of social media to become more innovative in a competitive market.
“Social media will help businesses develop innovations and promote novelties faster, with a competitive advantage,” says Professor Anne-Laure Mention, Director of the Enabling Capability Platform for Global Business Innovation at RMIT University.
With colleagues from Sydney, Geneva, and Luxembourg, Anne-Laure’s team is analysing the use of social media for open innovation practices in businesses around the world.
A robotic arm is the key to a radical new stroke treatment, helping patients regain upper body movement.
Melbourne researchers have developed a device that helps stroke patients learn to use their bodies again by tracking their movements while performing exercises. The arm movements can be displayed on a computer screen, and the activities turned into a game.
“The patients enjoy using the robot because it’s like playing computer games,” says Associate Professors Denny Oetomo, who is working with Ying Tan, and a team at The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“It also improves the ratio of patients to clinician time as the clinicians can handle multiple patients at one time.” Continue reading Robotic arm to help stroke patients regain movement