National Science Week 2016

Five New Research and Science Innovations to Watch


For the first instalment of our National Science Week Blog Series we will be highlighting just a few of the most recent innovations that have been developed either from or in conjunction with WA scientists and researchers. These stories of commercialisation and innovation in science are definitely giving rise to some technologies to watch.


Shark Mitigation Systems 

This WA based company founded by Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson, in conjunction with the University of Western Australia’s Ocean Institute and School of Animal Biology has developed a technology to deter and confuse sharks. The product was developed based on research conducted into shark vision, neurology and behavioural. Their unique wetsuit is designed to reduce the risk of shark attacks by using bold, contrasting patterns that change the outline of an individual so that a shark is less likely to mistake them for a seal or other prey. The wetsuit is already available for purchase.

The Shark Mitigation Systems team are hopeful that in the future their product will save lives.

For more information click here.



Developed in WA by Curtin University researchers and the team at Nuheara the revolutionary IQbuds are like no other headphones in the marketplace. The specialist technology allows the wearer to control the sound around them by cancelling out or managing the sound levels in their environment. Described as 3D audio it has been much harder to develop technology in this space, compared to 3D visual, according to Professor Kevin Flynn who was involved in the design and development process.

At the forefront of audio research and technology, the team behind the IQbuds now has a better understanding of how we perceive the audio environment around us and adds another jewel to WA’s research commercialisation crown.

For more information click here.



Although it is still in development the Electronic Pain Assessment Tool (ePAT) app has already attracted significant attention. Developed by a team from Curtin University, led by Jeff Hughes, the tool will assist carers and nurses to identify pain and discomfort in non-verbal patients. Clinical trials with dementia patients have already been undertaken and a new commercial version of the app is not far away. The applications of the new tool are far-reaching with uses for anyone who is uncommunicative, including babies and infants.

With the potential to increase the quality of life for many individuals this technology is definitely one to keep an eye on.

For more information click here.


The Smart Surgical Glove

Up to one in four women undergoing breast cancer surgery will return to the operating theatre within weeks to remove additional tissues or traces of the tumour that were initially left behind. This has an extensive cost on the medical system and at a time that is already stressful, the emotional impact on women undergoing the surgery is huge. Dr Brendan Kennedy and his team of researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and the University of Western Australia are developing the Smart Surgical Glove to reduce the surgeon’s margin of error and reduce the chances of women having to return to the operating table. Using a specialist probe mounted in a glove, surgeons will be able to visually identify the tumours at a microscopic level so that touch is no longer their only method of identifying tumours.

This incredible technology developed from WA research is certain to change lives and help relieve some of the current burdens on our medical system.

For more information click here.


Tungsten Wheat

Western Australia’s agriculture industry plays a vital role in the State’s economy. Now there is a new wheat breed, developed by Dr Ian Edwards and his team at Murdoch University which has the potential to revolutionise the export industry. Named Tungsten, the new breed has been in development for ten years, and is significant for producing the highest protein wheat (14% compared to an average of 6%) on the market, which also thrives in our sandy soils. Previously farmers had limited market opportunities, due to the inability to meet demand for higher protein wheats than they were able to produce. However, with Tungsten they now have the potential to expand their commercial opportunities.

For Dr Edwards, Tungsten is the culmination of his life’s work and a great achievement. For WA and our farmer’s, it will hopefully not be long before we see the economic benefits of this new breed.

For more information click here.


Top photo credits: Tungsten Wheat, ABC. Haptic sensor, Seven News.