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Swinburne University of Technology

— Health and Wellbeing

VR system simulates the effects of dementia

It may be an overused proverb, but it's a good one: "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand." That's the definitely the thinking behind Virtual Dementia Experience, a virtual reality system created by four multimedia graduates from Australia's Swinburne University. It provides caregivers with an interactive simulation of what it's like to suffer from dementia, so they can better understand what their patients are experiencing.

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— 3D Printing

New technique would allow a petabyte of data on a single disc

Data storage and preservation are no longer restricted to the needs of individual users, or even of companies or governments large and small. Instead they are the only remaining approach to preserving the history associated with the evolution of the digital age, and possibly the post-human era to follow. A research team headed by Prof. Min Gu of Swinburne University of Technology has developed a new data storage method that may be of considerable use for such civilization-sized concerns by putting a petabyte of information on a DVD-sized polymer disk. Read More
— Science

Cicada wings inspire new approach to antibacterial surfaces

Imagine if you took a water balloon and placed it on a bed of widely-spaced blunt nails. While the nails wouldn’t be pointy enough to pierce the balloon’s rubber skin, eventually the weight of the water would cause the rubber suspended between the nails to rupture. Well, it turns out that the clanger cicada uses the same principle to kill bacteria that settle on its wings. That finding could result in a new generation of antibacterial materials. Read More

Bumpy nanoparticles improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells

Researchers from Australia's Swinburne University of Technology have announced the development of the world's most efficient broadband nanoplasmonic solar cells. The scientists improved the performance of existing thin-film cells by incorporating nucleated or "bumpy" gold and silver nanoparticles. By doing so, they were able to boost the cells' absolute efficiency up to 8.1 percent. Read More
— Environment

Device that harvests water from thin air wins the James Dyson Award

Young Melbourne-based inventor Edward Linacre has won the 2011 James Dyson Award, making it the second year in a row where the prestigious prize has gone to an Aussie. Linacre stole this year's competition with his Airdrop irrigation concept that collects water from thin air. The Swinburne University of Technology design graduate was driven to transform an ancient cooling technique into a new sub-surface irrigation system, following the enduring Australian drought that saw high levels of farmer suicide along Australia's Murray- Darling Basin. Read More
— Science

Diamond Planets, good headlines, public opinion and the carbon lobby

Matthew Bailes is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and was one of the scientists responsible for the discovery of the diamond planet which received widespread news coverage over the last few weeks. In a well-penned article, Bailes discusses the reaction to the discovery and raises some very interesting questions about the way the scientific method is used and abused by the media. Read More
— Science

International team discovers planet made of diamond

A girl's best friend may have just gotten a whole lot bigger with the news that an international research team has discovered a small planet they think may be made of diamond. Although the planet is calculated to have a diameter of less than 60,000 km - which is about five times the diameter of Earth - it has slightly more mass than Jupiter. With the planet likely to be made largely of oxygen and carbon, its high density means it is almost certainly crystalline, meaning that a large part of the planet may be similar to a diamond. Read More
— Science

Laws of physics may just be 'local by-laws'

Star Trek’s Scotty was adamant that you “canna change the laws of physics,” but, according to a report from a team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England, that could be exactly what happens in different parts of the universe. The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this 'magic number' known as the fine-structure constant – 'alpha' for short – appears to vary throughout the universe. Read More