Making light work

Australian and French researchers are teaming up to use photonics—the quantum technology of light—to build better environmental sensors and high-speed data transmitters, and enable sharper MRI scans.

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Australian Science Prizes 2016

Clunies Ross Awards

Dr Elaine Saunders has made premium hearing aids more affordable and easier to use. She and her team have built on Australia’s bionic ear technologies to create a system where you can: test your hearing online; buy your hearing aid online and receive it set up ready for you; and adjust the hearing aid with your smartphone while you’re at the pub, dancing, or watching TV.

Credit: Blamey Saunders

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Eyes, hearts, bionic spines—partners in new health technologies

Across America lives have been improved by Australian inventions—the cervical cancer vaccine, the bionic eye, gum that repairs tooth decay. What’s next?

Extended wear contact lenses for healthier eyes

Some 30 million Americans use contact lenses. Today they can wear a single pair for up to 30 consecutive days and nights, safely and comfortably thanks to the work of CIBA Vision and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

Contact lenses were once rigid and had to be taken out every night. In 1991, a team of researchers from CSIRO, the University of New South Wales, and the Vision Cooperative Research Centre joined forces with CIBA Vision in the US, and Novartis in Switzerland, to create a better contact lens.

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Protecting phones, robots and governments—partners in cybersecurity

Your smartphone’s Wi-Fi connections are fast and reliable thanks to the work of Australian astronomers in the 1990s.

Today, your phone is also being protected from cyberattacks by Australian software that works within the kernel of the phone’s operating system to protect it from hacking and software faults. The kernel is the most fundamental part of an operating system. It acts between the hardware and the applications.

Now Australian researchers are working to secure America’s growing fleets of autonomous machines, with ‘microkernel’ software known as seL4.

The new software is built on the work of researchers at the University of New South Wales and National ICT Australia (now CSIRO’s Data61 Group).

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Getting the most out of Indonesian specialty coffees

Coffee processed on the Indonesian island of Flores has gained popularity in the international specialty coffee scene, as a result of efforts to improve revenue for small coffee farmers in regional areas.

The global market for specialty coffee continues to grow, but that demand is increasingly paired with a call for traceability, enhanced quality demands, and evidence of environmental and social standards throughout the production chain.

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Saving Indonesia’s cocoa

Supporting farmers and improving crop sustainability are the focus of collaborative work to save Indonesia’s ailing cocoa bean yields.

Production of cocoa beans for chocolate making is big business in Indonesia, especially in Sulawesi—where from the 1970s to 1990s, production grew from almost nothing to around 1.5 million hectares of smallholder plantings, and the third-largest production output in the world.

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Trading in style: students designing shelters for Indonesia’s street vendors

Indonesian street vendors are the new muses of Australian and Indonesian architecture students, who are creating sustainable shelters to help vendors keep trading in style.

Known as Pedagang Kaki Lima (‘five legs’), the travelling street vendors not only play a crucial role in Indonesia’s economy, they’ve also become an icon of resilience and bravery following the January 2016 Jakarta terrorist attacks—where photos of vendors and the meme “keep calm and BBQ satay” were shared widely on Twitter.

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Detecting high risk pregnancies in Indonesia

Women in Indonesia were 21 times more likely to die from childbirth than women in Australia in 2015.

Many pregnant women in Indonesia, particularly in remote areas, do not regularly visit health clinics, and so complications are not detected and dealt with early enough.

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The future of Indonesian mental health

Scientists are bringing together the knowledge from 300 mental health experts in a multi-disciplinary project to reimagine the future of mental healthcare in Indonesia.

Conducting interviews about policy, key challenges, case studies and patient groups, they’re looking to understand how new practices can fit into the historical, sociological and anthropological aspects of psychiatry in Indonesia.

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