February 2016

Research Announce


Research Announce is a newsletter designed to foster curiosity and celebrate the key achievements across Faculty Research.

Our Faculty has many talented researchers who excel in their fields of interest, developing approaches and solutions to today’s challenges. Each month, we will focus on one research group with highlights of their recent achievements.

Further information


February 2016 Profiles

Our Faculty has several multidisciplinary research groups with the expertise to address diverse challenges in ERO.

Advanced Sensing Technologies (AST)

A tiny sensor with massive potential

Members of the AST group are making big impact with their research on MEMS spectrometer technologies. Due to its size, MEMS devices can be adapted for highly sensitive applications. MEMS sensors are commonly used to detect movement and acceleration, gravity and a wide range of other applications.

More than a decade since MEMS sensors research began at UWA, the MEMS spectrometer technology stands to revolutionize the way things are done in many fields, including agriculture, defence, and medicine. These tiny portable and robust spectrometers use light to analyse the properties of a sample. They can be mass-produced at very low cost, which makes it ideal for consumer applications. In fact, UWA recently signed a global licensing agreement for this patented MEMS spectrometer technology with Panorama Synergy, giving the technology company exclusive rights to bring the product to market.

In future, we may see the sensor fitted to smartphones, allowing shoppers to check the freshness of their fruit, vegetables and meat in real time just by pointing their phone at the product in a fresh food section. As the global food supply chain widens, consumers will need the peace of mind that comes from the ability to accurately determine the origin and quality of produce. It could even be used in drones to help search for minerals in the ground or to assess nutrient and water needs of crops and for a multitude of other innovative applications.

The potential of the technology has long been recognised by several US and Australian defence organisations as well as the Grains Research and Development Corporation resulting in research funding of more than $10million over the past decade.

You can read more about the project here.