30 YEARS OF INNOVATION
SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Presented by Swinburne University of Technology and Supported by nature research custom media

1992
A university is born

Swinburne has its origins in the Eastern Suburbs Technical College, which was established in Melbourne in 1908. It catered for important skills of that time, such as carpentry, plumbing and gas fitting.

Eastern Suburbs Technical College was renamed Swinburne Technical College in 1913. After the Second World War, the college expanded its focus to include mechanical and electrical engineering, chemistry, film and television studies, and nascent computer programming.

In 1963, the advanced Industry-Based Learning programme commenced, combining academic study with practical experience. In the 1980s, Swinburne began providing technical and further education training aimed at teaching technical and vocational skills and higher learning.

On 1 July 1992, the Swinburne University of Technology Act 1992 proclaimed Swinburne a fully-fledged university.

Neville Stonehouse dressed as an official town crier in Colonial Era costume and rang a bell to herald the proclamation of Swinburne University of Technology on 1 July 1992.

Australian actor, Neville Stonehouse, dressed as an official town crier in Colonial Era costume and rang a bell to herald the proclamation of Swinburne University of Technology on 1 July 1992.

Australian actor, Neville Stonehouse, dressed as an official town crier in Colonial Era costume and rang a bell to herald the proclamation of Swinburne University of Technology on 1 July 1992.

1995
Backing brain science

In 1995, Neurosciences became the Brain Sciences Institute, under founding director Richard Silberstein.

While at Swinburne, Silberstein invented a neurological research method known as Steady State Topography (SST). SST uses an electroencephalogram to observe and measure the speed of electrical activity in human brains during set exercises. Silberstein would go on to found Neuro-Insight, a neuroscience-focused marketing agency employed by Twitter, Google, US National Public Radio (NPR) and Samsung, among others.

A head and shoulders of Dr Richard Silberstein. He says: Steady State topography, or SST, is the brain imaging methodology we use at Neuro-Insight. It’s a unique insight into the brain and different windows have different advantages and weaknesses. We’ve chosen SST because of some of its unique features and strengths, all methodologies have their strengths and weaknesses but SST have some very important ones. What we actually measure in the brain is an electrical response that gives an indication of the of the speed of processing of different parts of the brain.

Now, at any particular time all parts of the brain are active, and one of the most important indications of how active a particular region is - is how fast its operating. What SST can uniquely do is measure the speed of processing in these different regions of the brain.

Why is that important? Because different regions of the brain do different things. Now the methodologies being used for quite some time in the areas of cognitive neuroscience research and clinical science research, but Neuro-Insight is the only company that has the rights to this methodology for commercial applications for the communications area, design and packaging. Black and white logo for Neuro-Insight shown.

1995
Early industry 4.0

In 1995, Swinburne's Centre for Computer-Integrated Manufacturing bought equipment for a flexible manufacturing and rapid prototyping facility.

An old picture from Swinburne's archives shows Dr Syed Masood, then a Senior Research Engineer at the Centre for Computer Integrated Manufacture (he is still at Swinburne), at left. In the middle is Terry Hoppe, a representative for Stratasy's System, a 3D printing technology he is demonstrating on a computer, and to the right is Brian Dempster, another researcher then at the Centre for Computer Integrated Manufacture.

Here, Swinburne researchers learn how to use the Stratasys System, an early prototyping process. The system was created by mechanical engineer Steven Scott Crump, one of the pioneers of 3D printing, who had brought the idea of additive manufacturing to the market six years earlier.

The system was installed at the Rapid Prototyping Research Facility at Swinburne, a centre built in collaboration with Monash University.

To the left is Dr Syed Masood, then a Senior Research Engineer at the Centre for Computer Integrated Manufacture who is still at Swinburne to this day.  In the middle is Terry Hoppe, a representative for the Stratasys System. To the right is Brian Dempster, another researcher then at the Centre for Computer Integrated Manufacture.

Since the 1990s, Syed Masood has helped build Swinburne's postgraduate program in advanced manufacturing. Today, AU$100 million has been invested in the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre at Swinburne, which provides industry with unparalleled facilities and equipment to explore conceptual ideas for manufacturing next generation products with Swinburne researchers.

Dr Syed Masood holds a 3D-printed part in front of an FDM 3000 Stratasys 3D printer. These use so-called fused-deposition modelling to turn computer-aided design geometry into models that can be used for design reviews, manufacturability studies, investment casting patterns and marketing.

Dr Syed Masood holds a 3D-printed part in front of an FDM 3000 Stratasys 3D printer. These use so-called fused-deposition modelling to turn computer-aided design geometry into models that can be used for design reviews, manufacturability studies, investment casting patterns and marketing.

Dr Syed Masood holds a 3D-printed part in front of an FDM 3000 Stratasys 3D printer. These use so-called fused-deposition modelling to turn computer-aided design geometry into models that can be used for design reviews, manufacturability studies, investment casting patterns and marketing.

1999
Removing stormwater rubbish

CSR Ltd. signed an international patent and manufacturing agreement with Swinburne in 1999 for Humegard, a stormwater rubbish removal system designed to prevent blockages that had plagued commonly used mesh traps.

The design includes an angled boom to skim floating litter from the surface of stormwater. The boom also lifts clear during high storm flow, permitting unobstructed passage to prevent overflow. 

Floating materials are retained in a holding chamber, while submerged materials sink to the floor. Oil and grease are also filtered out through a comb.

This clever system was invented by a student team from Swinburne's Master of Engineering by Research programme, led by Dr Don Phillips.

An image shows two chambers, one in which stormwater flows in and in which rubbish is skimmed and trapped, and the second with a comb for trapping finer particles and grease. Arrows follow the flow of the dirty water (red) into the first chamber and the clean water (blue) after it has been filtered by the comb out.

Credit: Humes

2002
MiniFAB

MiniFAB, a Swinburne spin-off company that manufactures polymer microfluidics, was founded in 2002.

Three microfluidics devices are lined up against a teal backdrop.

MiniFAB creates custom microfluidics — devices that manipulate small amounts of liquid or gas, using channels just tens to hundreds of micrometres across. These are used for everything from diagnostics, medical devices and environmental monitoring sensors to food packaging sensors and aerospace devices. In 2019, German specialty glass technology group Schott acquired MiniFAB microfluidic manufacturing company. The organisation has since completed more than 900 projects and now has offices in Europe and the United States.

2002
Supporting emotional intelligence

 Swinburne researchers formed emotional intelligence assessment company Genos in 2002.

A man sits with his head on the keyboard of a laptop looking frustrated with his work.

Credit: Simon Potter/Image Source/Getty

The Genos Emotional Intelligence Survey (Genos EI) was designed in the 1990s by Swinburne’s Dr Ben Palmer, Dr Gilles Gignac and Professor Con Stough. It has since undergone several revisions.

The multi-person survey is now used to gauge leadership effectiveness via six emotional intelligence competencies.

Genos International, a company formed by some of the researchers, now has offices in Australia, Europe and North America, serving partners and clients in 33 different countries in 28 different languages.

2007
Rapid bursts from space

In 2007, Professor Matthew Bailes and student Duncan Lorimer discovered fast radio bursts — echoes of mysterious events that occurred millions of light-years away, and which emit radiation ten billion times brighter than anything in our galaxy. These astronomical enigmas are now being studied the world over.

Among the instruments studying these fast radio bursts is the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope in Western Australia— a precursor to the global Square Kilometre Array project — and the Molonglo Radio Telescope, a trough-shaped telescope near Canberra.

The Molonglo Radio Telescope, a 1,600-metre, trough-shaped telescope near Canberra pictured during the day.

Swinburne astrophysicist Matthew Bailes and his group partnered with the University of Sydney in 2015 to use its Molonglo Radio Telescope to monitor for fast radio bursts.

Molonglo Radio Telescope in the evening.
An illustrated image shows a fast radio burst (illustrated as a bolt of light) hit the Molonglo Radio Telescope, a 1,600-metre, trough-shaped telescope located near Canberra.

Their reconfiguration of the telescope means it now collects more than 20 gigabytes of data every second.

The Molonglo Radio Telescope, a 1,600-metre, trough-shaped telescope near Canberra pictured during the day.

Swinburne astrophysicist Matthew Bailes and his group partnered with the University of Sydney in 2015 to use its Molonglo Radio Telescope to monitor for fast radio bursts.

Molonglo Radio Telescope in the evening.
An illustrated image shows a fast radio burst (illustrated as a bolt of light) hit the Molonglo Radio Telescope, a 1,600-metre, trough-shaped telescope located near Canberra.

Their reconfiguration of the telescope means it now collects more than 20 gigabytes of data every second.

2009
Early innovator in telehealth

Swinburne has been a pioneer in online health services, long before the COVID-19 pandemic made digital medical consultations mainstream. In 2009, university researchers launched ‘Anxiety Online’, now known as Mental Health Online (mentalhealthonline.org.au).

Put together by Swinburne's National eTherapy Centre and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, Mental Health Online provides free mental health assessments, information and programmes. To date, it has attracted more than 100,000 users. Swinburne has continued to grow its expertise in treating mental health issues online and is now developing interventions for bipolar disorder and the management of psychosis.

A man sitting in a patch of light looks at the screen of his phone.

Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/Getty

Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/Getty

2013
Showing off the cosmos

Remarkable 3D astronomy documentary Hidden Universe premiered globally at IMAX in 2013.

Swinburne has an in-house scientific animator who helps showcase the university’s world-leading astrophysics work. Swinburne’s animator at the time, Russell Scott, worked with the university's astronomers and others to produce a stunning, scientifically accurate IMAX journey across space. This included new views of the Sun. The Swinburne team worked with the European Southern Observatory in Germany, film production company December Media and film distributor MacGillivray Freeman to bring a fresh perspective on space to the very big screen. The film has been seen by 1.5 million people across the world.

www.hiddenuniversemovie.com

An image of the cover of the Hidden Universe DVD against a white backdrop. The cover shows part of the Earth and a galaxy above it.

Credit: Nerthuz/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

2014
Custom fit earpieces

Mechanical engineer Philip Kinsella began working on a system for generating custom-fit in-ear devices as part of his PhD at Swinburne in 2014.

Kinsella's invention involves a portable 3D scanning system that uses cameras to scan the ear. From this, an earbud is 3D printed that can simply replace the common silicone tips that are fitted to either headphones or hearing aids. Hearables3D technology is now used in a range of commercial products.

Slide 1 says: Research excellence team
Slide 2 says: ARC training centre in biodevices


A head and shoulders frame of Professor Paul Stoddart, director, ARC Training Centre in Biodevices, Faculty of Science Engineering and Technology.


He says: As a training centre, it's very much student-focused. Giving students the best experience they can have as a PhD HDR student to contribute to the medical technology sector after graduation and that's both from a research perspective but also a commercial perspective. Jonathon Miegel succeeded in developing a whole bunch of designs for a new hearing aid, but also patented ideas that form the basis of new ways of programming and interacting with your hearing aid. Again, a PhD student Phillip Kinsella he came up with a way of automating the design of in-ear devices. So that can be anything from your personal music headphones, to hearing aids. Again, we can scan your ear and automatically design the custom fit shell for your device. It's just been great following that journey of somebody's you know who starts as a student comes up with some ideas and Swinburne's provided the environment where we can follow that through to the brink of commercial success. It's a very rewarding process to have been involved in.

2014
Smart Cloud Broker

In 2014, Swinburne developed ‘Smart Cloud Broker’ — a suite of software tools that allows consumers to better manage server space on the cloud by comparing services.

Smart Cloud Broker’s four online platforms help users understand the cloud and make migration decisions based on price, quality and performance. Swinburne developed the tools in collaboration with the Australian federal government’s Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet), a company that provides internet services to Australia’s education and research communities.

A desktop Mac computer screen shows a dashboard tracking cloud data use and capacity.

Credit: luismmolina/E+/Getty

2017
A new livestock vaccine to control ticks

An immune-boosting formula to help control cattle ticks and other parasites was developed at Swinburne in 2017. 

Capsular Technologies, a spin-off of the Swinburne-based Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers, was founded in 2017. The start-up developed a slow-release veterinary vaccine against infectious diseases and ticks in pigs and cattle, eliminating the need for booster shots. The technology uses a micro-hydrogel to slowly release immune-boosting components, which prolongs and increases the effectiveness of a single vaccine injection.

Cattle ticks cost the Australian beef and dairy industries approximately AU$175 million every year. This new cattle tick vaccine delivery system was shown to control infestations in Australian cattle, killing about 80% of the parasites over a period of 40 days — a significantly better efficacy than pre-existing multi-dose vaccines. It is particularly useful for vaccinating free-roaming cattle.

A person out of shot hold up a syringe in front of a black and white cow.

Credit: Jevtic/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

Credit: Jevtic/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty

2019
Bushfire-proof skylight

In 2019, a team led by Professor Blair Kuys — the director of Swinburne’s Centre for Design Innovation — released the first Australian skylight that is resistant to bushfires, hail and cyclones.

An illustration of an open skylight.

The Swinburne-designed skylight has been tested for bushfire resistance at 900°C and is being manufactured by Australian company, Atlite.

The skylight consists of two layers of glass: a strong outer layer, and an inner, low-emissivity glass that minimizes the amount of ultraviolet and infrared (radiant) light that can pass through, without compromising visible light.

2020
Using muons to see through walls

In 2020, innovative start-up mDetect developed a new technology platform that uses space particles — known as muons — to ‘see the unseeable’.

The detector and platform can visualize conditions underground, underwater or within structures, providing valuable intelligence. It does this by detecting light created by cosmic rays that regularly hit Earth from space. Research began at Swinburne in 2018 and was further developed through a Swinburne business accelerator programme. It was used to help assess and upgrade the city of Melbourne’s water infrastructure in 2020 and to help assess mine tailings facilities in 2022 for copper-focussed mining company,
OZ Minerals.

A small, square black 10cm x 10cm prototype against a white background.

This 10cm x 10cm detector prototype was scaled up for commercial use. It contains a piece of plastic scintillator, which re-emits energy absorbed from ionising radiation as light. The plastic glows slightly when hit by muons, and software then draws on astrophysical calculations to identify the trajectory of the particles and how they interact with rock or walls in their path. This is used to create 3D maps.

This 10cm x 10cm detector prototype was scaled up for commercial use. It contains a piece of plastic scintillator, which re-emits energy absorbed from ionising radiation as light. The plastic glows slightly when hit by muons, and software then draws on astrophysical calculations to identify the trajectory of the particles and how they interact with rock or walls in their path. This is used to create 3D maps.

A picture shows five researchers or technical officers from Swinburne standing on some steps. Swinburne astrophysicist Professor Alan Duffy (at front) helped conceive of mDetect's core technology while studying cosmic rays. Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation  Jerome Donovan (far left), Technical Officer Craig Webster (second from the left), Senior Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Eryadi Masli (second from the right) and Deputy Director of the Factory of the Future Shanti Krishnan (far right) and were also key to developing and commercializing the technology.

Swinburne astrophysicist Professor Alan Duffy (at front) helped conceive of mDetect's core technology while studying cosmic rays. Associate Professor Jerome Donovan (far left), Senior Lecturer Eryadi Masli (second from the right), Technical Officer Craig Webster (second from the left) and Shanti Krishnan, Deputy Director of the Factory of the Future (far right), were also key to developing a start-up based on the devices. 

Swinburne astrophysicist Professor Alan Duffy (at front) helped conceive of mDetect's core technology while studying cosmic rays. Associate Professor Jerome Donovan (far left), Senior Lecturer Eryadi Masli (second from the right), Technical Officer Craig Webster (second from the left) and Shanti Krishnan, Deputy Director of the Factory of the Future (far right), were also key to developing a start-up based on the devices. 

2021
Predicting heart attacks

Nirtek was launched in 2020 to distribute a medical device that can identify people at the highest risk of a heart attack.       

Swinburne researchers and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne developed an infrared laser that can differentiate between stable and unstable cholesterol deposits, known as plaque. This could help surgeons prevent arterial ruptures and heart attack, which is the world's leading cause of death.

Red and blue Nirtek logo. Illustration of heart vasculature.

Caption on the right says: Heart attack caused by rupture of unstable, vulnerable coronary artery plaques is the #1 individual cause of death. Two red arrows point at a large vein.

A caption says: Coronary angiograms detect vessel narrowing caused by atherosclerotic plaques.

Another caption says: But this method cannot determine if plaque is stable or vulnerable to rupture. A white screen says: The solution: . An image of a white box with a Nirtek logo on it and long wire coming out of it comes onto screen.

A caption says: NIRAF Guidewire, a speciality diagnostic device to detect unstable plaques. An annotation points to the end of the wire and shows a red halo around it.

The annotation says: Near Infra-Red directed at coronary plaques, which if unstable will auto-fluoresce.

Another non-annotation caption pops up and says: A cardiologist can treat the vulnerable plaque with a stent during the same procedure. An illustration of a human body and the heart shows a catheter being fed into a red arterial vein in the leg and the end of the Nirtek wire being fed into a red vein leading to the heart.

A caption says: Guidewire fed through catheter during angiography procedure. A red arrow points up to the heart. A close-up illustration of the heart shows the wire enter the heart.

A caption says: Guidewire steered into the coronary arteries. Wire probe shown to enter the left ventricle. The wire probe is shown in an illustration close up of an artery partly clogged by plaques.

A caption says: Once in the artery, the device illuminates the plaque with laser light to look for contents that make plaque unstable.

Another caption says: Any areas of instability within a plaque will auto-fluoresce and be detected by the wire. The wire is shown to move up and down the clogged artery as the Near Infra-Red light shines toward the end of the wire. A textured balloon in shown to move down the wire.

A caption says: A balloon and stent are then guided into position to treat the unstable plaque using the very same wire. The balloon is shown inflating and pushing out the plaque on the edges of the artery.

A caption says: The balloon inflates, deploying the stent to keep the artery open. The balloon in the illustration is shown to deflate and move out, while a caged of stent is left holding the plaque on the edges of the vein.

A caption says: The balloon is removed, leaving the expanded stent in place. We see a fresh close up illustration of an artery with plaques and the Nirtek wire and Near Infra-Red probe moving into the artery.

A caption says: The NIRAF Guidewire can detect vulnerable plaques with a lower degree of narrowing, which would overwise go unstented with increased risk of rupture and heart attack. The illustrations moves out to show two arteries, one stented and one not. A wire is shown moving into the non-stented artery with plaques on part of the artery wall.

A caption says: The NIRAF Guidewire can also explore adjacent arteries during the same procedure to reduce risk of future heart attacks. Ends with the red and blue NIRTEK logo.

A student from Swinburne stands in front of a programmable machine for drilling.

2022
Focused on the future

Swinburne's innovative research continues today in partnership with business and industry, with a distinct focus on creating a sustainable future.

Swinburne recently established the Social Good Cloud Innovation Centre with Amazon Web Services. The university has also partnered with electronics manufacturer Siemens to co-develop the Associate Degree of Applied Technologies — the world's first Industry 4.0-focused associate degree to build capabilities in smart manufacturing.

In 2021, Swinburne launched three research hubs: Medical Technology Victoria (MedTechVic), the Aerostructures Innovation Research (AIR) Hub, and the Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2). Established at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus with AU$10 million in funding, VH2 is led by Swinburne in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Germany’s government-funded research facility ARENA2036 (Active Research Environment for the Next generation of Automobiles 2036). The hub will bring together researchers and industry to trial and demonstrate emerging hydrogen technologies for sustainable manufacturing and energy storage.

Swinburne looks forward to a bright future driven by dynamic partnerships that change how we live every day.