Ground-breaking research transforming our future

13 August 2019
Researchers and students deliver cutting-edge innovations

From transforming cancer detection to solving our plastic waste problems, we're working with industry, government and community partners, to address some of the most pressing problems facing our planet.

In celebration of our annual Innovation Week, held from 19-23 August, we take a look at just some of the many transformative and creative ideas being brought to life by researchers and students at the University of Sydney.

12 ground-breaking innovations


Device to predict epilepsy 

There are approximately 250,000 people living with epilepsy in Australia and 65 million worldwide. Supported by a grant from Microsoft, a group of researchers are working on creating a portable, non-surgical device that can provide people living with epilepsy up to 30 minutes’ warning about a likely seizure.

Read more about this seizure warning system

Robots for the farm

Professor Salah Sukkarieh has launched field robotics spin-off company Agerris, securing $6.5 million in seed funding to commercialise its automated farm equipment. The robotics systems use AI and decision mapping to conduct non-chemical weeding, intelligent spraying and very soon they could be harvesting produce.

Discover how we're helping to improve productivity on our farms

Transforming cancer detection

DetectED-X is transforming cancer detection through education test sets for doctors around the world. Founded by Professor Patrick Brennan and Professor Mary Rickard, DetectED-X was launched through the University’s startup program INCUBATE.

Learn how DetectED-X is making cancer diagnosis easier

Addressing food insecurity in our city

Did you know that approximately 17,000 residents in the City of Sydney are food insecure? FoodLab Sydney, a partnership between the University of Sydney, UNSW Canberra, City of Sydney, TAFE and FoodLab Detroit, is increasing access to healthy and affordable food by empowering individuals and communities in the creation of new food businesses.

We’re applying food security research to support local food entrepreneurs

Blocking deadly box jellyfish venom

The Australian box jellyfish is the most venomous creature on earth, carrying enough venom to kill more than 60 humans. Associate Professor Greg Neely and Dr Raymond (Man-Tat) Lau and their team of pain researchers at the Charles Perkins Centre have discovered an antidote to the deadly sting that could lead to a topical treatment.

Find out how the antidote works

Protecting wheat crops worldwide

Wheat is relied on by more than one-third of the world’s population and one of the most economically important stable foods. An international group of scientists co-led by the University of Sydney has isolated the first major resistance genes against stripe rust, which threatens to devastate wheat crops worldwide. 

Find out how scientists solved the 30-year wheat rust puzzle

Solving our plastic recycling problem

Did you know it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down? Professor Thomas Maschmeyer’s recycling solution which converts plastic into high-value products, will be used in a new chemical recycling plant that will allow Timor-Leste to become the first 'plastics-neutral' economy in the world.  

Learn how this technology is converting a liability into an asset

Magic pen to fix eye injuries

Corneal ulceration is a common problem in Australia and developing countries. Professor Gerard Sutton and his team from the University's Save Sight Institute have developed a corneal pen which seals eye wounds to treat corneal ulceration, promote active healing of the wound site and reduce scarring.

Find out more about this 3D printing pen

Improving quality of life for cardiovascular disease patients

Working alongside biomedical engineers and clinicians, Associate Professor Cara Wrigley has been redesigning the after-surgery experience for patients with cardiovascular disease. They are addressing usability and wearability issues like waterproofing and physical strain to give patients a better quality of life at home.

Discover how we're using human-centred design to improve quality of life

Electronic skin for people with disabilities

Dr Anusha Withana and his colleagues are developing wearable technology that could be used to control devices, receive information and importantly, register sensations through mobile phone-like vibrations.

Discover how this wearable technology works

Smart windows to conserve energy

The rise of energy consumption in recent decades has led to an increasing demand for renewable energy and energy-saving systems. Engineering experts are using a new plasma technology that will enable windows to conserve energy by responding to light, heat and other environmental factors.

Find out more about this new technology

A solution for air pollution

Intensifying air pollution affects millions of people living in South and East Asia. Recognising the devastating health impacts on these populations, a team of students have developed the world’s first anti-pollution mask with unique health benefits, winning the Student Innovation challenge at the 2018 Innovation Week and the ‘Best Business Scalable in Asia’ prize from Sydney Genesis.

Check out the latest student inventions at the Student Innovation Challenge on 21 August

The University of Sydney’s Innovation Week takes place from Monday 19 to Friday 23 August 2019. Check out all the events here.

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