Australia’s computing pioneer

In the late 1940s and into the ’50s, Australia was at the international forefront of computer design and construction. One of the key figures was expatriate British scientist Trevor Pearcey. Pearcey was born in London in 1919 and graduated from Imperial College London in 1940 with first-class honours in physics and mathematics. He emigrated to … Continue reading Australia’s computing pioneer

The problem rocket scientists fear the most …

It ain’t rocket science. And that’s the problem! Eager researchers with innovative solutions for the burgeoning space industry often find themselves stumped when faced with the “b” word. That’s b for business. It’s a delicate subject that needs to be confronted carefully and considerately, says University of South Australia (UniSA) Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) … Continue reading The problem rocket scientists fear the most …

The wonder crystal that’s set to transform solar-generated electricity.

The technology of perovskite solar cells might be young, but predictions are that it’s almost ready to bust out of the lab and revolutionise the photovoltaic industry. Just 12 years after the first research into the use of perovskite in solar cells, the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic – a projection of technologies published by … Continue reading The wonder crystal that’s set to transform solar-generated electricity.

Is Australia ready for the digital world?

Australia needs to focus on digital technology research, according to a new report by the Australian academies of Science (AAS) and Technology and Engineering (ATSE). The summary, published on the AAS’s website, urges policymakers to recognise the significance of digital technologies – including AI, quantum computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and 5G. While the use of all … Continue reading Is Australia ready for the digital world?

Spyware unplugged

A major investigation conducted by news organisations has found that governments around the world may have been spied on by a malicious software called Pegasus. The software was developed by an Israeli company, NSO Group, and sold to government clients, but the spyware that came with it may have targeted journalists, politicians, government officials and human rights activists. It … Continue reading Spyware unplugged

What do we want? (Human) rights around AI!

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has called for the appointment of an artificial intelligence safety commissioner to address concerns about the risks and dangers that the use of AI poses to privacy and human rights. The AHRC’s three-year study into the human-rights implications of new technology was tabled in Federal Parliament last month, with … Continue reading What do we want? (Human) rights around AI!

Final frontier exam: is it fit for space?

A new network to put space technology through its paces has been set up, to make sure Australian-developed products can withstand the radiation, vibrations, temperatures, and vacuum of space travel. Checking that equipment can cope with cosmic rays, solar winds or sudden radiation showers is critical as companies vie to be a part of the … Continue reading Final frontier exam: is it fit for space?

Explainer: why is a drought contributing to the silicon chip shortage?

The ongoing computer chip shortage has multifaceted causes, including drought, an uptick in demand following the pandemic, and the closure of factories due to local lockdowns. One of the contributing factors – a drought in Taiwan – has made it harder to manufacture chips as well. So what’s required to make a computer chip, and … Continue reading Explainer: why is a drought contributing to the silicon chip shortage?

Monitoring earthquakes with transoceanic cables?

What if we could monitor what goes on at the inaccessible depths of the oceans – using infrastructure that’s already there? In a new study published in the journal Optica, researchers show that the millions of kilometres of fibre optic cables crisscrossing the ocean floor can not only be used to send data streaming across … Continue reading Monitoring earthquakes with transoceanic cables?

Are those earmuffs, or beermuffs?

Japanese researchers have developed a pair of earmuffs that can measure real-time changes in your blood alcohol concentration. Turns out our ears give off as much alcohol as our breath, so the earmuffs could be an alternative to a breathalyser. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, was led by Kohji Mitsubayashi from the … Continue reading Are those earmuffs, or beermuffs?

Agritech: Australia’s next big export opportunity

In 2015, I had the opportunity to move to Australia from the US. As someone who had been studying and working in the rapidly emerging agritech space, observing its explosion onto the global tech scene in 2012, I was excited to move to a country with such strong foundations in agriculture and ag research. I … Continue reading Agritech: Australia’s next big export opportunity

Shaped by the sun

A solar cell mounted on the light actuated material can move and track a light source without wires, gears or motors. Credit: Fio Omenetto, Tufts University A team of American engineers have developed a material that can make precise movements and form complex three dimensional shapes without wires or energy sources, instead responding to light. … Continue reading Shaped by the sun