Category: Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

The surgeon’s sense of touch

In 20-30% of breast-conserving surgery cases, cancer tissue is left behind, and patients require repeat surgery. This team at The University of Western Australia are developing a high resolution, hand-held device used by surgeons during breast-conserving surgery, to identify tumour tissue and get all the cancer out, the first time. The technology is on its way to improving the safety and reliability of breast conserving surgeries, with better health outcomes for patients and significant cost savings for our health system.

The beauty of symmetry

Symmetry is everywhere, at every scale. Many problems faced by engineers, scientists and mathematicians use group theory and symmetry to help solve them.

For over 40 years, Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger has been dedicated to the pursuit of mathematical knowledge. Her work in pure mathematics has provided tools and theories with real world application, including in: large computer systems, the world wide web, agricultural crop experiments and the weaving process. She has pioneered the role of women in mathematics in Australia and continues to encourage the next generation of mathematicians.

MRI measurement of Liver Iron Concentration

Liver biopsies are invasive, risky and painful. An MRI based non-invasive technology has replaced liver biopsies in patients requiring repeated measurement of the concentration of iron in their liver. The non-invasive procedure developed from The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) research is associated with almost no risk to the patient while the invasive procedure is associated with risks of significant pain, bleeding, bile leak, and death. To date, over 45,000 patient measurements have been made using the new non-invasive method which has been incorporated into clinical guidelines for the management of diseases such as thalassaemia.

High returns on Canola investment

UWA’s sustained research program into molecular genetics and the identification of molecular markers in canola crossbreeding has led to the development and release of 50 new improved canola varieties since 2004, with higher yield, disease resistance, and herbicide tolerance for weed control, thereby improving the long-term sustainability of Australian cropping systems. These canola varieties which have been adopted by farmers because of their higher yield and disease resistance, allow more sustainable crop rotations and improved farm profits. Significant economic benefits have also been delivered to seed production and distribution companies. New breeding methods have the potential to improve crop adaptation to climate change.

MMEx e-Health Clinical Platform

The MMEx platform is an award winning, evidence based and fully shareable web-based electronic health record system. MMEx was developed at UWA’s Centre for Software Practice and delivered to market by ISA Technologies. It provides practitioners with a patient management system that allows care teams to share information and be guided by risk-based decision support and other tools. Initially developed to manage healthcare for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, MMEx has since been used to support the health care of large indigenous populations throughout Australia as well as highly specialised care in urban settings. MMEx has been used to collect research data for projects looking at chronic disease management practices, approaches to telehealth, and sexually transmitted infections.

Safer, cheaper offshore pipelines for oil and gas production

UWA researchers have developed cheaper and safer offshore pipelines to reduce the cost of building and maintenance in oil and gas infrastructure. This has been achieved via the delivery of new design paradigms that have been adopted by operators and verifiers worldwide, and which now feature in international standards for pipeline design.

Side by side: offloading LNG on the open seas

A new and innovative technology; Shell’s Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility is being deployed to meet increasing global energy demands.

However, deploying in deep water far away from sheltered areas, offloading LNG offshore presents new technical challenges.

Researchers at UWA work closely with Shell to meet challenges associated with reliable offloading of LNG; a critical component for the successful implementation of the technology.

Drop by drop

Water is a key driver for all our activities; transporting life giving solutions into the environment and into our bodies. It plays a critical role in making our cities and towns more liveable and our industries viable. Staggeringly, we have access to only 3% of the world’s total water. Of that, 1% falls in the wrong place, 1% falls at the wrong time and only the remaining 1% is accessible for use. By using a multidisciplinary approach, Professor Anas Ghadouani and his team have been dedicated to helping communities close the loop on the water cycle at a local level.

Understanding and predicting ocean weather

Our planet experiences a range of natural disasters that can cause loss of life and displacement of communities. By using the latest technology and modelling to understand and predict ocean weather, this team have been able to help global communities.

A Healthy House Tracker

We can’t ignore the effects of climate change on how we live or our ever growing use of resources such as electricity and water. As consumers we look to be more environmentally conscious, but what about our houses and offices – are they running efficiently? This research team are creating innovation in the building design process and better management of resources such as gas, wind and solar power, water and electricity for building owners. Using existing smart and augmented reality technology as well as the concepts of sustainable living, this research could save consumers around 30% of the lifecycle cost of the building.