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5 Reasons Why Melbourne Is The Queen of Cool Tech

Melbourne Tech Capital
Melbourne skyline

We know Melbourne is consistently rated as one of the world’s most liveable cities – but did you know it’s also leading the way in world-class research that’s actually cool at the same time?

Many of the awesome innovations can be seen at the University of Melbourne’s free public exhibition, Made Possible by Melbourne, which showcases the impact of the university’s research in Melbourne’s CBD until November 25.

Here’s a taste of just five tech advances on show that are blowing our minds….

1.       Biofortified Rice

 Biofortiwhat? Don’t worry we’re with you. Over two billion people around the world do not get enough vitamins and minerals from their food causing the epidemic of ‘hidden hunger.’

Until now…

In short, researchers at the University of Melbourne are developing the ultimate strain of rice that has the potential to reduce malnutrition disorders and improve half the world’s diet. AKA paving the path to solving world hunger #nailedit

The need to know:

  • These grains contain much higher quantities of zinc and iron than normal rice, reducing the percentage of malnutrition and anaemia
  • Rice is the most common staple food for billions around the world and this innovation has the ability to feed the population with proper nutrients necessary for mind and body

 Mmmm tasty!

2.  Digital Vineyards

 What do you get when you mix a vineyard with a drone? Smart farms of course! Yep, it’s a thing.

Dr. Sigfredo Fuentes from the University of Melbourne is on the path to developing the ability for farms to become living, breathing, self-sufficient pieces of land. And it’s not going to be limited to just one crop.

 The need to know:

  • Drones are equipped with pre-entered data that can monitor an entire farm down to the last crop or tree
  • These bad boys can cover over 2500 hectares in one day, yep, that’s about 2000 football fields

 Looks like farmers will soon be trading tractors for iPads #techsavy 

3.  Nura Earphones

 Imagine using the same pair of prescription glasses as your friend. You wouldn’t. The same rule now applies when it comes to music.

 These revolutionary earphones developed by Kyle Slater and Dr. Luke Campbell from the University of Melbourne have been created specifically to tailor to your hearing.

 The need to know:

  • Essentially these headphones are a stroke of brilliance that listen to you
  • They adapt to your individual hearing, which means whether you’re listening to music at home or in a noisy outside environment the perfect sound profile is built for you, filling in the gaps that conventional earphones can’t.

 Welcome to the revolution hearing!

4. Robots with human touch

 Touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing. These are the five senses that connect the world. But imagine you lose one, touch, and have to rely on a prosthetic limb in place of living, breathing flesh.

 Prosthetic limbs have come a long way in the past decade, but the sense of touch has not been considered, until now. Researchers from the UoM are developing a robotic arm that not only restores full movement but also restores sensation.

 Ahh when dreams become reality.

human robot
A human robot from a scene in the movie Ex Machina

 The need to know:

  • Robots are restoring autonomy for people effected by amputation, stroke or paralysis
  • A 3D printed microchip will be able to read electrical signals in the brain and pass movement messages via nerves to the robotic arm-in turn enabling the user to ‘feel’ sensations such a strength and pressure.

 World changing research – tick!

 5. Turning any water in to drinking water

 Let’s face it, we’re lucky. Melbourne has one of the cleanest most drinkable tap water supplies in the world. But for 780 billion people, that’s not the case.

 Imagine your only option was to drink the water from the Yarra River (you know, that massive river your mates dare you to jump in to on a night out for a lousy $50), gross huh?

 Now imagine that water has been purified so completely that it’s probably more clean than the water that comes out of your tap. The University of Melbourne is making that a reality!

 The need to know:

  • These creative researchers have developed a water treatment plant housed in a shipping container that can filter the dirtiest water in to clean drinkable H20
  • This world-saving invention has been created as a portable plant, which means it can be sent to small communities where clean water is not an option

Thirsty anyone?

For more information and to view the exhibition online visit: https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/madepossible/

Robyn Foyster

Written by Robyn Foyster

Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn is the owner and founder of a tech business called AR tech, where she helped create the world's first AR community shopping app called Sweep and her team produced the 2018 Vivid app. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.

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