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Campus News : CONNECT:UOW July 2012
14 CONNECT :UOW JULY 2012 The ability to 'see' through walls is no longer reserved for Superman and the realm of Marvel Comics, thanks to a remarkable next- generation radar system developed by five UOW students. The low cost, efficient Compressed Sensing Imager (CSI) developed by the group wowed judges and took out the Award for IT Innovation at the recent NASSCOM Innovation Student Awards held in Sydney. The judging panel were impressed by Alex Seng, Matthew Kitchener, Wenbin Shao, Jie Yang and Yhenxin Feng's use of state-of-the-art Compressed Sensing and Image Processing to non-destructively detect, classify and track targets behind visually impenetrable structures such as walls. The students' supervisor is Professor Salim Bouzerdoum, who last year won the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Support of Defence or National Security for his role in the development of the 'see-through' technology. The technology has limitless practical uses such as law enforcement, military and civil applications. Examples of potential applications include identifying hostages from suspects at crime scenes, use in search and rescue operations and revealing underground objects non-intrusively for resources exploration and infrastructure maintenance. The team collaborated with universities in the United States to come up with the research and solution and have prototyped the system in various locations, with plans to commercialise the technology soon. The judging panel was impressed not only by their innovative approach to solving a problem, but also by strong technology and patent registration. NASSCOM Australia is the Australian branch of India's National Association of Software and Services Companies, a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. JB STUDENTS WIN WITH 'SEE-THROUGH' RADAR $4.7M BIONICS PROJECT UNDERWAY The University of Wollongong's newly appointed Australian Laureate Fellow Professor Gordon Wallace has launched a new $4.7 million medical bionics research program to develop ways to regenerate damaged nerves and muscles and ground-breaking brain implants for epilepsy patients. Professor Wallace leads the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at UOW's Innovation Campus. His team is already recognised as a world leader in the field of materials and bionics, by creating specialised three-dimensional structures made from 'smart' materials which are accepted by the human body and can enable regrowth of damaged nerves and muscles. Professor Wallace's team is working with senior clinicians at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital on the medical bionics project. The hospital's Chair of Medicine, neurologist Professor Mark Cook, and Associate Professor Rob Kapsa attended the launch of the program in April. "In the last couple of decades a whole new area has been developed in organic materials that conduct electricity," Professor Wallace said. He said the pioneering research that developed cochlear ear implants to help people overcome hearing loss had sparked interest among clinicians, who had started looking for new applications for the electrodes. He said the new research program will focus on building better organic materials to conduct electricity through the body, to "improve lines of communication" between electronics and biology to stimulate nerve, muscle and bone regeneration. "Cochlear implants stimulated the imagination of researchers, and now the challenge is to make 3-D structures that can be a muscle regeneration platform to facilitate and stimulate re-growth," he said. "We will also be developing the machinery to put these three-dimensional structures together." The epilepsy project with Professor Cook at St Vincent's aims to develop nanostructured materials that can be implanted in the brains of epilepsy sufferers to monitor electrical signals. The device would pre-empt an epileptic seizure and then release medication to reduce or eliminate the effects of the seizure. NH CONNECT: RESEARCH VISIONARIES: (from left) UOW students Matthew Kitchener, Wenbin Shao, Alex Seng, Professor Salim Bouzerdoum and Jie Yang are part of the team which has developed a new radar system that can see through walls and solid objects. ITC PRESENTS $4M DIVIDEND TO MEDICAL RESEARCHERS Critical research being undertaken at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) will be one of the main beneficiaries of a $4 million dividend made by the ITC Limited to the University of Wollongong. ITC, which is UOW's largest subsidiary, made the presentation during its annual awards night celebration which in part is held to recognise ITC's support of the community. ITC provides a range of services to UOW including marketing, student recruitment and external relations, and operates the University of Wollongong in Dubai, the UOW College and the International Training and Careers College in Wollongong and the International Film School Sydney. ITC CEO and Managing Director Vince Lendrum presented the dividend to UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings. Professor Wellings said it was a major achievement by ITC to deliver $4 million against tough world economic conditions and the high Australian dollar. ITC has now given about $14 million in dividends in recent years which have mainly benefited medical research. IHMRI's Chief Operating Officer Sue Baker- Finch said the money would be used for research into such areas as schizophrenia, Motor Neurone Disease and how antibiotics are best delivered. BG