AI for gut disorders, virtual reality aids for carers, and genomics to develop drugs faster are among the emerging technologies selected for the latest intake of CSIRO’s sci-tech accelerator ON.
A fast-track to market, ON brings together researchers, entrepreneurs and mentors, and the new batch of innovators are tackling some of Australia's greatest challenges in energy, food and agriculture, water quality, wildlife conservation and health, according to CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall.
“Establishing ON was about bringing the Australian research sector closer to Australian industry – creating a pathway to help our scientists turn their excellent science into real-world solutions,” Marshall said.
“The program is built on the shoulders of scientists who have made the leap into business, and likewise business people who have leapt into the world of science.”
The advantage of ON is that it is backed by the national science agency – which invented wi-fi, plastic banknotes and Aerogard – and almost every university nationally has joined in supporting the venture.
"This collaboration across the innovation system is allowing us to deliver game-changing innovations for Australia and the world," Marshall said.
The health innovations include the Noisy Guts Project, which is developing an acoustic belt that records and analyses gut noises for doctors to identify disorders. Currently, the diagnostic process is time-consuming and costly, with 900,000 colonoscopies performed in Australia each year. The Noisy Guts Project team from the University of Western Australia claims different conditions create unique sounds and the belt will be a safe and non-invasive tool for detecting irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal conditions.
Remaining with intestinal conditions, the CSIRO’s Gut Health Co has developed a blood test that can be done at a clinic in 90 minutes with a lower cost, as a replacement for the current six-hour test for leaky gut.
The virtual and augmented reality Care giVR platform from the University of Newcastle uses technology to train carers in how to do health-related procedures.
Meanwhile, Hyperdrive will use genomics to help pharmaceutical companies find effective drug targets, cutting the time needed for medication candidate selection. The Macquarie University team claims its technology will lead to higher drug approval rates and reduced cost for the development of pharmaceuticals.
In the 18 months CSIRO has run the ON accelerator, it has provided 200 teams of researchers with the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to get science and technology innovation from the lab to market.
Previous graduates of the program have included digital cardiac rehab tool Cardihab, and ePat, which created the world’s first pain assessment app using artificial intelligence.