Smart sensing network probes pollution, blood and koalas

Futuristic sensing technologies to tackle major challenges in agriculture, health, security, the environment and industry will be showcased today at the official launch of the NSW Smart Sensing Network.


A koala and joey: CC BY-SA 3.0

UNSW and the University of Sydney will launch the NSW Smart Sensing Network alongside industry and government leaders today (Wednesday 1 February) .

The NSW Government-backed network is developing futuristic sensing technologies to tackle major challenges in agriculture, health, security, the environment and industry.

The event will include a tour of a laboratory at the University of Sydney’s Sydney Nanoscience Hub.

Just days after London was put on high alert because of UK pollution, network researchers will announce work on smart technologies ranging from mobile phone-enabled air and water sensors to skin patches for monitoring sun exposure and techniques for audio recognition of koala mating calls.

 Some of the projects/technologies on display at the launch will include:

  • Biomedical research led by UNSW's Professor Justin Gooding  to detect clinically important biomarkers in blood; pioneering work into UV-sensitive skin patches and sensors.
  • Water Quality research led by UNSW's Dr Alex Donald into developing a palm portable device to monitor toxic pollutants in NSW central coast groundwater that led to a fishing ban.
  • Air Sensing research led by the University of Sydney's Professor Benjamin Eggleton in a variety of photonic techniques sensing gases and particles in the atmosphere – has particular relevance for transport corridors, industries and local communities. (see photonic chip ANIMATION)
  • Wildlife sensing capabilities led by Dr Zhe Xu, from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, will monitor iconic and ecologically important species including koala populations.
  • Wearables polymer fibre light guides research led by the University of Sydney's Professor Simon Fleming to sense changes in the body, such as as the movement of bedridden patients, bandage pressure and to measure metrics of elite athletes.

Speakers will include: NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane; Network Co-Directors Professors Benjamin Eggleton and Justin Gooding, university Vice-Chancellors Dr Michael Spence and Professor Ian Jacobs and NSSN Steering Committee Chair, Professor Susan Pond, as MC. Read more about NSSN People.

When:             4pm–6pm, Wednesday 1 February
Where:            Sydney Nanoscience Hub, Physics Road, University of Sydney
                        Camperdown campus


Dr Parisa Sowti Khiabani wearing a UV-sensitive skin patch developed at UNSW.