Queensland University of Technology

Brisbane, Australia

Queensland University of Technology is a research university in Brisbane, Australia. QUT is located on three campuses in the Brisbane area: Gardens Point, Kelvin Grove, and Caboolture. The university has approximately 35,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 post graduate students, of which 6,000 are international students. It has over 4 000 staff members, and an annual budget of more than AU$750 million.QUT ranks within the top 10 Australian Universities and the upper 3 per cent world-wide. QUT has been ranked as Australia's best university under 50 years of age by the Times Higher Education Top 100, and ranks 26th globally in that category. The university in its current form was founded 1989, when the then Queensland Institute of Technology merged with the Brisbane College of Advanced Education. Wikipedia.

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News Article | January 30, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

By , Professor in Robotics at Queensland University of Technology, and , Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Queensland. As far-fetched as it may seem today, there are a couple of compelling reasons why some humans may one day be born without either a mother or father as we now know them, and with no other humans around to bring them up. The first is the uninhabitable Earth scenario: doomsday. This is the idea that one day our planet will not be able to support human life . This may be due to catastrophic climate change brought on by , a nuclear winter following a or that humans do not survive. Whatever the cause of our demise, if humans want to ultimately survive and one day re-emerge, it makes sense to store the building blocks of people – ovum and sperm – ready for a resurrection of the human race once our planet is habitable again. There are already that have been created to store plant seeds for just this kind of eventuality. The second scenario is the interstellar spaceship idea, where spacecraft are launched from our solar system to nearby stars in search of potentially habitable planets. In this , new humans are only created if the planets found are suitable. This is a common theme in science fiction and was a core part of the story in the recent where 5,000 embryos were sent in the Endurance spacecraft. In both scenarios, there is an assumption that humans can be automatically conceived, survive gestation in a machine, and be born and raised to live an independent life. They will then be able to have their own children and hence ensure the ongoing survival of the human species. The current best bet for this to succeed is to use robots as surrogate parents for the first generation of new humans. But how realistic is this? Do we have the technology now, or will we in the near future? There are three stages in the development of a human embryo and foetus that need to be considered when automating the process. The first is in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is already routinely carried out in a lab. Fully automating the IVF process is plausible in the near future and is already desired to improve outcomes for potential parents today. Even if such technology did not exist, this step could be bypassed by using already fertilised eggs. Scientists have already taken the first step towards this by showing that embryos can be grown in the lab for . The second stage is that of early gestation, prior to around 22 to 24 weeks gestation, when a foetus does not have viable lungs. During this time, the embryo would need to be housed in an artificial uterus. Maybe surprisingly to many, there has been much research into the , a field of science is known as . In fact, Emanuel Greenberg patented . His invention contains all the apparatus he thought would be required to grow a baby. There is no evidence that such a machine was ever constructed. In a re-evaluated the chances of a laboratory uterus that would supply nutrients and oxygen to an incubated foetus and would be capable of disposing of waste materials. […] the growth and development of fetuses between 14 and 35 weeks of pregnancy is within reach given our current knowledge and existing technical tools. This leaves the first 14 weeks of gestation as a currently unresolved issue, but there are researchers working on the problem who have shown . The final phase of foetal development can already be managed outside a mother’s womb. If a baby is born after 26 weeks in a modern hospital, it has . Given all of this progress in the science of artificially keeping a baby alive, it is not total science fiction to think that babies will be grown and born from machines in the future. The drive to develop such technology is not coming from an impending doomsday scenario but from the common desire of people to want to have children. Once a robot has grown a baby, birthing will likely be easy. It may be as simple as opening a door on a machine and cutting the umbilical cord. But how would such a child be raised? As most parents discover, birthing a baby is only just the beginning! The next 18-plus years of nurturing develop personality, character and humanity. You may think that all children have been raised by people, but there is some evidence of a few cases of non-human parents. These are the stories of who were raised by animals. The concept of being brought up without human parents has fascinated people from many cultures for millennia. One myth of the founding of Rome begins with the twins babies being lost in the wilderness. They were found and suckled by wolves and then fed by birds until rescued by humans. Mowgli from was raised by a menagerie of animals, and was brought up by apes. Supposedly true stories of children raised by animals in the modern era are . Many are clearly hoaxes, but some are real. It has been estimated that there are of children being away from other humans and growing up for some period without human contact. Scientists have studied the effects of such experiences on these children and observed that, unsurprisingly, they suffered an that was impossible to fully remedy after proper human contact. For our smart robot parents this would not be a problem, as they would speak to and teach their infants language, as human parents do now. A robot parent would have a huge library of human cultural knowledge for their growing children to read, listen and watch. For example, the lack of a normal human family life could be compensated for by watching television soap operas such as . Other television series and movies could be used to show various aspects of human behaviour. There’s even the possibility of a Superman-inspired holographic projector with human avatars could educate on ethics and morality, as well as the history of Earth. The selection of which cultural traditions, ways of thinking and acting, and knowledge is presented to children and at what time is an age-old dilemma for any parent – human or robot. This would be a problem, but not a new one. Some robots are already being marketed as being . For many human parents, the electronic babysitter, television, and more recently “learning” has been a popular temporary relief from parenting duties. There have been calls that use of robots and iPads to help raise children is . But in the end-of-species scenario we are considering here, these dilemmas are less relevant than the greater ethical question of whether we ought to keep the human species going ? So it does seem possible that robots could one day create new humans and raise them to adulthood. But would such humans see their robot parents as a mother and father in the traditional sense we know today? That would depend on whether we could teach them to have an emotional connection with their robot carers, enough that they’d one day want to celebrate Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) with them. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Hollywood gave us Sharknado, but real-life scientists have given us “Sharkcano” — a highly active underwater volcano that is infested with sharks. And recently, those scientists presented us with another gift: They sent in a bunch of robots to get blown up in the eruptions. The robots, which were just some PVC pipes stacked with electronics, were necessary to take measurements of the Kavachi volcano in the South Pacific Ocean because it’s too dangerous for humans to visit in the flesh, according to National Geographic. The scientific team was looking for things like temperature, carbon dioxide levels and acidity. After one enormous eruption, the researchers got even more than that when the robot caught pieces of ash that had just erupted as lava out of the Earth. They don’t yet know why and how sharks can live in the crater of this volcano near the Solomon Islands, but it is “really wild because it’s one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the world,” ocean engineer Brennan Phillips said. Read: These Penguins Have Survived a Lot of Volcanic Eruptions, According to Historic Poop “In the vicinity of the vent we found a huge drop in the surface pH levels, water temperatures 10 degrees higher than normal, and we learned Kavachi is a strong greenhouse gas emitter,” Matthew Dunbabin, of Queensland University of Technology, told National Geographic. Sharks Have Way More Friends Than You

News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

A single-jab vaccine could halt the chlamydia epidemic wiping out Australia’s koalas. It may even pave the way for a human chlamydia vaccine. In trials, the new vaccine has been shown to slow the rate of new infections and treat early-stage disease. A third of Australia’s koalas have been lost over the last two decades, largely due to the spread of chlamydia, which now affects between 50 and 100 per cent of wild populations. The sexually transmitted disease causes painful urinary tract inflammation, infertility and blindness. Chlamydia in koalas is caused by Chlamydia pecorum, a bacterium that may have spread from livestock introduced from Europe. A similar bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, causes chlamydia in humans. Antibiotics can be used to treat chlamydia in koalas, but they only work in early-stage disease, do not prevent re-infection, and they must be administered daily for at least 30 days in captivity. Moreover, some infected koalas remain asymptomatic and are overlooked for treatment while they continue to spread the disease. To address these problems, Peter Timms at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, and his colleagues have been developing a single-injection chlamydia vaccine that provides long-lasting protection. Koalas are injected with tiny fragments of C. pecorum bacteria to train their immune systems to fight chlamydia. The team tested the vaccine on 21 free-ranging koalas in Queensland’s Moreton Bay region. Six had early-stage chlamydia and the other 15 were chlamydia-free. After six months none of the chlamydia-free koalas had become infected, even though half the koalas in their habitat were carrying the disease. In addition, all six of the individuals that started out with chlamydia had cleared the infection. But the vaccine was not as effective at nine months, by which time three of the 21 vaccinated koalas had become infected. This rate of infection was still lower than in the control group – in which five of 21 unvaccinated koalas had contracted chlamydia. One option is to broaden the coverage of the vaccine by protecting against more strains of C. pecorum. The current formulation only guards against three out of 10 known strains. Another possibility is to vaccinate more widely. “If you vaccinated the majority of a koala population, it wouldn’t matter so much if the individual protection wasn’t 100 per cent because there would be herd immunity,” Timms says. His team is about to trial this latter strategy in a group of around 50 wild koalas in the suburb of Petrie in Queensland. Roads and houses border their habitat, meaning they are separated from other koalas. All 50 koalas will be vaccinated to determine whether the resulting herd immunity reduces the overall disease burden of the population. “You’ll never be able to get rid of chlamydia completely – same as you can never get rid of the flu – but we think the vaccine could at least turn koala populations around so they’re going up instead of down,” says Timms. The team plans to apply for government approval for the vaccine within the next 12 months. Ken Beagley at the Queensland University of Technology, who co-developed the koala chlamydia vaccine, is now using the same principles to develop a human version containing fragments of C. trachomatis bacteria instead of C. pecorum. Using a mouse form of the human vaccine, his team has shown that it slows the spread of chlamydia when both male and female mice are vaccinated. They hope to conduct a clinical trial of the human vaccine in the next five years.

Queensland University of Technology | Date: 2015-08-03

A breathing training device for a subject, the device including at least one feedback member positioned in contact with the subjects abdomen near the subjects diaphragm; and, an attachment member at least partially extending around the subject, wherein the attachment member and the feedback member cooperate to mechanically provide discrete tactile feedback to the subject when the abdomen reaches a predetermined level of expansion.

Srinivasan M.V.,Queensland University of Technology
Annual Review of Entomology | Year: 2010

Among the so-called simpler organisms, the honey bee is one of the few examples of an animal with a highly evolved social structure, a rich behavioral repertoire, an exquisite navigational system, an elaborate communication system, and an extraordinary ability to learn colors, shapes, fragrances, and navigational routes quickly and accurately. This review examines vision and complex visually mediated behavior in the honey bee, outlining the structure and function of the compound eyes, the perception and discrimination of colors and shapes, the learning of complex tasks, the ability to establish and exploit complex associations, and the capacity to abstract general principles from a task and apply them to tackle novel situations. All this is accomplished by a brain that weighs less than a milligram and carries fewer than a million neurons, thus making the bee a promising subject in which to study a variety of fundamental questions about behavior and brain function. © 2010 by Annual Reviews All rights reserved.

Milford M.,Queensland University of Technology
International Journal of Robotics Research | Year: 2013

In this paper we use the algorithm SeqSLAM to address the question, how little and what quality of visual information is needed to localize along a familiar route? We conduct a comprehensive investigation of place recognition performance on seven datasets while varying image resolution (primarily 1 to 512 pixel images), pixel bit depth, field of view, motion blur, image compression and matching sequence length. Results confirm that place recognition using single images or short image sequences is poor, but improves to match or exceed current benchmarks as the matching sequence length increases. We then present place recognition results from two experiments where low-quality imagery is directly caused by sensor limitations; in one, place recognition is achieved along an unlit mountain road by using noisy, long-exposure blurred images, and in the other, two single pixel light sensors are used to localize in an indoor environment. We also show failure modes caused by pose variance and sequence aliasing, and discuss ways in which they may be overcome. By showing how place recognition along a route is feasible even with severely degraded image sequences, we hope to provoke a re-examination of how we develop and test future localization and mapping systems. © The Author(s) 2013.

Read S.A.,Queensland University of Technology
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science | Year: 2013

We examined choroidal thickness (ChT) and its spatial distribution across the posterior pole in pediatric subjects with normal ocular health and minimal refractive error. ChT was assessed using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) in 194 children aged 4 to 12 years, with spherical equivalent refractive errors between +1.25 and -0.50 diopters sphere (DS). A series of OCT scans were collected, imaging the choroid along 4 radial scan lines centered on the fovea (each separated by 45°). Frame averaging was used to reduce noise and enhance chorioscleral junction visibility. The transverse scale of each scan was corrected to account for magnification effects associated with axial length. Two independent masked observers segmented the OCT images manually to determine ChT at foveal center, and averaged across a series of perifoveal zones over the central 5 mm. The average subfoveal ChT was 330 ± 65 μm (range, 189-538 μm), and was influenced significantly by age (P = 0.04). The ChT of the 4- to 6-year-old age group (312 ± 62 μm) was significantly thinner compared to the 7- to 9-year-olds (337 ± 65 μm, P < 0.05) and bordered on significance compared to the 10- to 12-year-olds (341 ± 61 μm, P = 0.08). ChT also exhibited significant variation across the posterior pole, being thicker in more central regions. The choroid was thinner nasally and inferiorly compared to temporally and superiorly. Multiple regression analysis revealed age, axial length, and anterior chamber depth were associated significantly with subfoveal ChT (P < 0.001). ChT increases significantly from early childhood to adolescence. This appears to be a normal feature of childhood eye growth.

Croll T.I.,Queensland University of Technology
Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography | Year: 2015

Cis-peptide bonds (with the exception of X-Pro) are exceedingly rare in native protein structures, yet a check for these is not currently included in the standard workflow for some common crystallography packages nor in the automated quality checks that are applied during submission to the Protein Data Bank. This appears to be leading to a growing rate of inclusion of spurious cis-peptide bonds in low-resolution structures both in absolute terms and as a fraction of solved residues. Most concerningly, it is possible for structures to contain very large numbers (>1%) of spurious cis-peptide bonds while still achieving excellent quality reports from MolProbity, leading to concerns that ignoring such errors is allowing software to overfit maps without producing telltale errors in, for example, the Ramachandran plot. © 2015 International Union of Crystallography.

Cameron S.L.,Queensland University of Technology
Annual Review of Entomology | Year: 2014

The mitochondrial (mt) genome is, to date, the most extensively studied genomic system in insects, outnumbering nuclear genomes tenfold and representing all orders versus very few. Phylogenomic analysis methods have been tested extensively, identifying compositional bias and rate variation, both within and between lineages, as the principal issues confronting accurate analyses. Major studies at both inter- and intraordinal levels have contributed to our understanding of phylogenetic relationships within many groups. Genome rearrangements are an additional data type for defining relationships, with rearrangement synapomorphies identified across multiple orders and at many different taxonomic levels. Hymenoptera and Psocodea have greatly elevated rates of rearrangement offering both opportunities and pitfalls for identifying rearrangement synapomorphies in each group. Finally, insects are model systems for studying aberrant mt genomes, including truncated tRNAs and multichromosomal genomes. Greater integration of nuclear and mt genomic studies is necessary to further our understanding of insect genomic evolution. © Copyright ©2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Srinivasan M.V.,Queensland University of Technology
Physiological Reviews | Year: 2011

Research over the past century has revealed the impressive capacities of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, in relation to visual perception, flight guidance, navigation, and learning and memory. These observations, coupled with the relative ease with which these creatures can be trained, and the relative simplicity of their nervous systems, have made honeybees an attractive model in which to pursue general principles of sensorimotor function in a variety of contexts, many of which pertain not just to honeybees, but several other animal species, including humans. This review begins by describing the principles of visual guidance that underlie perception of the world in three dimensions, obstacle avoidance, control of flight speed, and orchestrating smooth landings. We then consider how navigation over long distances is accomplished, with particular reference to how bees use information from the celestial compass to determine their flight bearing, and information from the movement of the environment in their eyes to gauge how far they have flown. Finally, we illustrate how some of the principles gleaned from these studies are now being used to design novel, biologically inspired algorithms for the guidance of unmanned aerial vehicles.

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