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News Article | October 27, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A QUT report suggests Australian schools should be more flexible with the use of YouTube and other social media platforms to embrace new trends in 'edutainment', allowing teachers to maximize the value of 'teachable' and 'in the moment' content. The Australian Screen Content in Education: Digital Promise and Pitfalls project and report, led by QUT's Professor Stuart Cunningham and Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni, reveals YouTube is by far the single most often used source. Teachers are time-poor, report finding the right content challenging, and are sometimes restricted by school policies about social media. But teachers also trust ABC, SBS and Australian Children's Television Foundation content and want to use it in the classroom. "Screen content that is successful in schools is contemporary, high quality, curriculum relevant and short," said Professor Cunningham. "Students expect screen content that is all of that as well as fun and catchy. They equate poor production values to untrustworthy content. "YouTube is the access portal of choice and every supplier of content to schools should have a YouTube strategy. Other popular services include ClickView, ABC iView and Splash, SBS On Demand and of course the faithful DVD. " The research project was funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Program and conducted between 2014-2016 in conjunction with project partners Screen Australia, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Special Broadcasting Service and the Australian Children's Television Foundation. The report includes insights from producers and distributors, as well as interviews with hundreds of teachers, students and industry representatives, and observations of classroom practice. It contains recommendations to further develop opportunities for Australian producers and distributors. "Teachers are newly empowered in their search for arresting, relevant screen-based material for their classrooms and have flocked to the ubiquitous, free resources available on YouTube, despite it, and other social media platforms, being restricted in some state education jurisdictions," Professor Cunningham said. "We found there is a definite hunger for Australian content, particularly featuring Indigenous themes. So there is an opportunity there for local suppliers but only a few have mastered the complex nature of the education market and developed sufficiently robust, user-friendly and relevant platforms which can deliver at scale. "New methods of digital distribution and access, ever greater emphasis on screen-based curriculum content and pedagogy, together with the rollout of the Australian Curriculum and its requirement for media arts in primary education provide potentially exciting opportunities for producers and distributors, but only if they configure content and access to fit curriculum structures, themes and modes of 'edutainment' prevalent in today's classrooms." One of the most in-depth explorations of the distribution and use of screen media in education ever conducted in Australia, the report will be presented and debated at an industry and education forum in Sydney on 31 October. It can also be accessed online.


The 'gel' is a new 3D printable material developed by QUT researchers that opens the way to rapid, personalised cancer treatment by enabling multiple, simultaneous tests to find the correct therapy to target a particular tumour. Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation said the new material was a gelatine-based hydrogel that mimicked human tissue. The method for producing the gelatine-based hydrogel is published in the journal Nature Protocols. "Hydrogel is a biomaterial used by thousands of researchers around the globe; gelatine is based on collagen, one of the most common tissues in the human body. We have modified the gelatine to engineer 3D tumour microenvironments," Professor Hutmacher said. "Our big breakthrough is we can produce this high-quality material on a very large scale inexpensively. "It is highly reproducible which means we have been able to produce this hydrogel hundreds of times, not just once or twice in the lab, so researchers worldwide will be able to create it." Professor Hutmacher said the new hydrogel could be used as a 'bioink' to print 3D 'microenvironments' or models of a tumour to test different anti-cancer drugs. "We will be able to use this hydrogel infused with tumour cells to quickly create a number of models of patient-specific tumours. "Instead of the sometimes hit and miss chemotherapy that affects every cell in the body this will allow us to test different anti-cancer drugs and different combinations of them all at once so that we can pinpoint an individualised treatment that will hit only the cancer cells. "It will cut the process of finding a personalised treatment for each patient down to a week or two." Because the hydrogel can be modified to mimic the firmness of cartilage or softness of breast tissue it can be used to create models for all types of cancer and also for research on stem cells and tissue engineering. The IHBI research team includes Dr Daniela Loessner, Associate Professor Travis Klein and PhD student Christoph Meinert. The study, Functionalization, preparation and use of cell-laden gelatin methacryloyl-based hydrogels as modular tissue culture platforms was published this week. The new hydrogel discovery is part of Biofabrication Research led by Professor Hutmacher at IHBI, which launched the world's first Master of Biofabrication, a dual Australian and European master degree. "We are seeking more students for the masters course at IHBI from all science and technology disciplines," Professor Hutmacher says. "Biofabrication is the future of medicine. It is a multidisciplinary area of research that requires an understanding of chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, robotics and computer science and we welcome graduates from any of these fields to apply for the master degree." Explore further: Breakthrough in 3-D printing of replacement body parts More information: Daniela Loessner et al. Functionalization, preparation and use of cell-laden gelatin methacryloyl–based hydrogels as modular tissue culture platforms, Nature Protocols (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2016.037


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Do cyber daters contact their stated perfect match online? It seems not Despite having a very clear 'wish list' stating their preference for potential ideal matches, most online daters contact people bearing no resemblance to the characteristics they say they want in a mate, according to QUT research. The finding was revealed in the 'Preference vs Choice in Online Dating' study conducted by QUT behavioural economists Stephen Whyte and Professor Benno Torgler. They analysed the online dating preferences and contact behaviour of more than 41,000 Australians aged between 18-80 using data from the online dating website RSVP, with the findings now published by leading international journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking. "We looked at whether or not people actually contact people who match what they say is their ideal partner in their profile, and our findings show they don't. Stating a preference for what you are looking for appears to have little to no bearing on the characteristics of people you actually contact," Mr Whyte said. "How people go about finding a partner is changing dramatically thanks to the internet. Where once we were limited to settings such as school, work, social gatherings or local night spots, there is a much wider choice at hand online. "The psychology employed by humans choosing a mate can definitely be environmentally sensitive and the nature of online dating is triggering changes in underlying preferences and decision behavior of those involved. "Disclosure of 'ideal' partner preferences is a widely offered and commonly-used option for people creating a profile on online dating websites, but whether it's effective or useful in helping people find that special someone is unclear. "This study provides quite unique findings in that people may state a preference for an ideal partner but they are more than happy to initiate contact with potential love interests that bear no resemblance whatsoever to that 'Mr or Mrs Perfect' they initially think they prefer over all others. "I think it's really encouraging findings for people searching for that special someone online. "In our fast-paced world, and with the myriad of options the internet now offers, time spent searching and exploring all available potential partners can be costly." Mr Whyte said instead of searching until they find the exact match to their stated criteria, people may actually prefer to settle on an acceptable threshold of qualities or characteristics in a potential mate, rather than hold out. "As Internet and cyber dating continues to grow at a rapid rate further research is required into the decision-making process and the links between stated preferences and actual choice," he said. The research is the largest ever behavioural economic analysis of Australian online dating behaviour, with this body of work reviewing 219,013 participant contacts by 41,936 members of RSVP during a four-month period in 2016. "Our study reviewed the interactions of people whose ages ranged from millennials to octogenarians, which in itself demonstrates how widespread online dating is and how it is changing traditional ways in which people find potential love interests," Mr Whyte said. QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Jonathan Peake and Oliver Neubauer, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, led a research review of studies about exercise and immunity. They found the best way to avoid unfavorable changes in the immune system during a post-workout recovery was consuming carbs during or immediately after the exercise. The paper was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. "There is intense interest in what athletes can do to recover faster from exercise," Peake said. "Among various nutritional strategies to counteract immune depression during exercise recovery, carbohydrates have proven the most effective. Ingesting carbohydrates during vigorous exercise may help, because carbohydrates maintain blood sugar levels. "Having stable blood sugar levels reduces the body's stress response, which in turn, moderates any undesirable mobilization of immune cells. However, more research is warranted to verify that this also helps to prevent infections and illnesses." Peake said exercise can increase and decrease the number of immune cells in blood. But he said studies did not support the long-held belief that exercising regularly without allowing sufficient time for the immune system to return to normal increased the risk of a weakened immune system. "People often have fewer natural killer white blood cells after a workout but we now believe they move to other parts of the body, rather than being destroyed. "Exercise is a form of stress and more vigorous exercise creates more physiological stress which causes physiological and biochemical changes in the body. To tackle the potential threats these changes highlight, the immune cells may simply move out of the blood stream to the lungs, for example. "This still leaves our bodies vulnerable to infections and, generally speaking, the more strenuous the exercise, the longer it takes for the immune system to return to normal. "Epidemiological evidence suggests that regular moderate exercise protects against upper respiratory illnesses, like the common cold, whereas regular intense exercise increases the risk of upper respiratory illnesses." Neubauer said the research suggested most people only need carbohydrates during high-intensity or prolonged exercise of 90 minutes or more. "The consumption of carbohydrates before and during strenuous exercise not only improves endurance performance, but it can also minimize exercise-related immune disturbances," he said. "Between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour during exercise help to support normal immune function. Examples of carbohydrates that could be consumed during exercise include carbohydrate-containing fluids, gels and bars consisting of different carbohydrates such as glucose and fructose. Alternatively, bananas may also do the job. "As general advice for people who train for and participate in endurance events, any products should be tested if they are tolerated in the field. "Consuming carbohydrates in the first few hours immediately after strenuous exercise also helps to restore immune function. This is especially important in situations where the recovery duration between two consecutive exercise sessions is short, which is often the case for athletes." The researchers did not find sufficient evidence to recommend 'immune-boosting' supplements, for example antioxidants. "A diversified and well-balanced diet is most likely sufficient to help maintain immune function following longer-term exercise training. "Sleep is recognized as important for maintaining immune function. However more research is needed to understand the influence of sleep on immunity in athletes."


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

NewsEating carbohydrates during intense exercise helps to minimize exercise-induced immune disturbances and can aid the body's recovery, QUT research has found.Contributed Author: Queensland University of TechnologyTopics: Wellness


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Company bosses need to walk-the-walk when it comes to greening their business with technology, with new QUT research finding that just buying green IT, doesn't make you green. Professor Jan Recker, from the QUT Business School, said investment in Green IT paid off in terms of reducing costs but to generate green reputational and innovation benefits a more substantial change of strategy and practice was required from top-down and beyond the IT department. The research published in Information Systems Journal titled How IT executives create organizational benefits by translating environmental strategies into Green IS initiatives looked at how Green IT solutions needed to be backed up by green information systems practices such as process re-engineering or environmental management systems. "In a nutshell, Green IT refers to reducing the environmental effects of the manufacturing, operation and disposal of IT equipment and infrastructure," Professor Recker said. "For example, buying eco-friendly computers which automatically switch off, or consolidating servers and storage devices to save energy, or refurbishing old computers to extend their lifecycle. "All these practices are aimed at reducing the resources, energy use and electronic waste generated from IT equipment. "The conundrum is that businesses might be greener than they were before but they are still not really green in the sense of being truly sustainable." Professor Recker said companies could only claim the "green tag" if they adopted company-wide practices that decreased the negative environmental effects of business operations and advance corporate sustainability. "Employing smart green information systems practices allows you to change your processes to reduce your energy footprint, or to innovate new products and services; and this is what offers reputational benefits and innovative opportunities," he said. "Environmental management systems can quantify emissions and track resource flows, which can unleash opportunities to reduce resource consumption. "For example, using software that defaults to printing black and white rather than colour, or double-sided instead of single-sided. These changes across an organisation can make a significant difference to its carbon footprint. "Or, digital innovations can lead to green end products and infrastructure solutions, such as smart-grid technologies, engine-control units, intelligent traffic management systems and de-materialisation initiatives that substitute physical products such as books or music with digital services." As part of the study, 118 chief information officers were surveyed about their strategies and their use of green technologies and green practices. "The findings demonstrate to executives who may be suspicious about the benefit of taking on company-wide green information systems that it not only contributes to environmental goals but it also benefits a business' bottomline and reputation," he said.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Eating carbohydrates during intense exercise helps to minimise exercise-induced immune disturbances and can aid the body's recovery, QUT research has found Dr Jonathan Peake and Dr Oliver Neubauer, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, led a research review of studies about exercise and immunity. They found the best way to avoid unfavourable changes in the immune system during a post-workout recovery was consuming carbs during or immediately after the exercise. The paper was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. "There is intense interest in what athletes can do to recover faster from exercise," Dr Peake said. "Among various nutritional strategies to counteract immune depression during exercise recovery, carbohydrates have proven the most effective. Ingesting carbohydrates during vigorous exercise may help, because carbohydrates maintain blood sugar levels. "Having stable blood sugar levels reduces the body's stress response, which in turn, moderates any undesirable mobilisation of immune cells. However, more research is warranted to verify that this also helps to prevent infections and illnesses." Dr Peake said exercise can increase and decrease the number of immune cells in blood. But he said studies did not support the long-held belief that exercising regularly without allowing sufficient time for the immune system to return to normal increased the risk of a weakened immune system. "People often have fewer natural killer white blood cells after a workout but we now believe they move to other parts of the body, rather than being destroyed. "Exercise is a form of stress and more vigorous exercise creates more physiological stress which causes physiological and biochemical changes in the body. To tackle the potential threats these changes highlight, the immune cells may simply move out of the blood stream to the lungs, for example. "This still leaves our bodies vulnerable to infections and, generally speaking, the more strenuous the exercise, the longer it takes for the immune system to return to normal. "Epidemiological evidence suggests that regular moderate exercise protects against upper respiratory illnesses, like the common cold, whereas regular intense exercise increases the risk of upper respiratory illnesses." Dr Neubauer said the research suggested most people only need carbohydrates during high-intensity or prolonged exercise of 90 minutes or more. "The consumption of carbohydrates before and during strenuous exercise not only improves endurance performance, but it can also minimise exercise-related immune disturbances," he said. "Between 30 and 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour during exercise help to support normal immune function. Examples of carbohydrates that could be consumed during exercise include carbohydrate-containing fluids, gels and bars consisting of different carbohydrates such as glucose and fructose. Alternatively, bananas may also do the job. "As general advice for people who train for and participate in endurance events, any products should be tested if they are tolerated in the field. "Consuming carbohydrates in the first few hours immediately after strenuous exercise also helps to restore immune function. This is especially important in situations where the recovery duration between two consecutive exercise sessions is short, which is often the case for athletes." The researches did not find sufficient evidence to recommend 'immune-boosting' supplements, for example antioxidants. "A diversified and well-balanced diet is most likely sufficient to help maintain immune function following longer-term exercise training. "Sleep is recognised as important for maintaining immune function. However more research is needed to understand the influence of sleep on immunity in athletes."


News Article | November 6, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Would you dress in diamond nanothreads? It's not as far-fetched as you might think. And you'll have a Brisbane-based carbon chemist and engineer to thank for it. QUT's Dr Haifei Zhan is leading a global effort to work out how many ways humanity can use a newly-invented material with enormous potential -- diamond nanothread (DNT). First created by Pennsylvania State University last year, one-dimensional DNT is similar to carbon nanotubes, hollow cylindrical tubes 10,000 times smaller than human hair, stronger than steel -- but brittle. "DNT, by comparison, is even thinner, incorporating kinks of hydrogen in the carbon's hollow structure, called Stone-Wale (SW) transformation defects, which I've discovered reduces brittleness and adds flexibility," said Dr Zhan, from QUT's School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering. "That structure makes DNT a great candidate for a range of uses. It's possible DNT may become as ubiquitous a plastic in the future, used in everything from clothing to cars. "I feel very lucky to have this chance to study a new material in depth -- blue-sky applied research opportunities like this are rare." DNT does not look like a rock diamond. Rather, its name refers to the way the carbon atoms are packed together, similar to diamond, giving it its phenomenal strength. Dr Zhan has been modelling the properties of DNT since it was invented, using large-scale molecular dynamics simulations and high-performance computing. He was the first to realise the SW defects were the key to DNT's versatility. "While both carbon nanotubes and DNT have great potential, the more I model DNT properties, the more it looks to be a superior material," Dr Zhan said. "The SW defects give DNT a flexibility that rigid carbon nanotubes can't replicate -- think of it as the difference between sewing with uncooked spaghetti and cooked spaghetti. "My simulations have shown that the SW defects act like hinges, connecting straight sections of DNT. And by changing the spacing of those defects, we can a change -- or tune -- the flexibility of the DNT." That research is published in the peer-reviewed publication Nanoscale. Dr Zhan has also published a number of other results from his DNT-modelling research: "Further modelling is needed to fully investigate all the properties of DNT. However, I am excited about the potential range of applications it could be used for, given we've proven we can control its flexibility, conductivity and strength," Dr Zhang said. "Carbon is the most abundant element on the planet. It's a renewable resource, so the cost of the raw material is extremely low. "Once the manufacturing costs are viable, DNT would likely be used primarily in mechanical applications, combined with other materials to make ultra-strong, light-weight composites and components -- such as plane fuselages. "I plan to test how DNT performs as a two-dimensional networked structure -- a sheet or layer -- for potential use in flexible electronics and screens. "I also want to test is viability as a fibre for textiles or rope, from bullet-proof vests and hard-wearing work gear to a replacement for steel cables in bridge construction. "There's already talk in the global carbon community of DNT being the best candidate yet for building a space elevator. It would be a real honour if my research contributed to the development of DNTs for that purpose."


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Why MiGGi Matters when it comes to re-training your brain It's more than halfway through February and for many those hopeful New Year's resolutions to make some positive changes have fallen by the wayside. A QUT neuroscientist may have the answer to sticking with them long-term. Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IBHI) said many New Year's resolutions revolved around mental and physical health. "Giving up smoking, drinking less alcohol, eating less sugar, losing weight, taking a break from social media, being less stressed or spending more time with family and friends rather than at work - these are all popular choices for resolutions," Professor Bartlett said. "Other popular goals are saving money, learning a new instrument or language, more 'me' time, reducing debt or doing more for charity. "Unfortunately while intentions may be noble people do put themselves under enormous pressure and then experience depression and disappointment when they cave in to their impulses. "This is because our brains control our behaviour in a way unchanged since prehistoric times. This is especially true of how we respond to stress but it is possible to override the ancient brain." Professor Bartlett has just published a book - MiGGi Matters: How to train your brain to manage stress and trim your body. "Our brain silently drives our behaviour as if we are still ancient humans living in prehistoric conditions and it feeds our addictive behaviours. So when we are stressed our brain seeks pleasure which is quite often why New Year's resolutions are so easily broken," she said. "Everybody wants to start fresh with a new year but the brain has other ideas." Professor Bartlett said the modern world was a stressful environment in which the pressures of work, finances, relationships, parenting and other responsibilities result in the body releasing stress hormones like cortisol. Over time, stress hormones significantly reduce the number of synapses in the brain which can impact our rational brain and reduce impulse control. "To counteract the damage caused by stress hormones, the ancient, emotional part of our brain drives us to find pleasure. When we experience pleasure, our body is flooded with hormones like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. These bind to receptors in the brain and reduce the damaging effect of stress hormones," she said. Professor Bartlett's book outlines the following five steps to help people be led by their rational brain rather than the ancient brain and therefore resist impulses to break healthy goals: MiGGi Matters: How to train your brain to manage stress and trim your body is available for sale at AU$33 (plus tax and shipping) for a print version or AU$24.95 in ebook form at http://www. .


News Article | October 29, 2016
Site: www.techrepublic.com

An abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood are always on display when we walk into our local supermarket. But how often do any of us really think about the efforts our local farmers go through to make sure this fresh produce is available at our disposal? The pressure on farmers to continue to produce at the same rate — or even higher — is set to worsen as worldwide predictions have concluded that we will face a global food shortage crisis in less than 50 years. Findings in the latest report (PDF) by the Global Harvest Initiative show that the world population will exceed 9 billion people in 2050, and, as a result, the demand for food is likely to outpace the amount that can be produced. This echoes a similar prediction (PDF) made by the Australian government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, which highlighted that in order for Australia to maintain a stable food security level, there is a need to increase global agricultural output by 70 percent by 2050. Australia's agricultural sector accounts for 2.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). However, in recent times, according to the National Farmers' Federation, agricultural productivity growth has slowed to 1 percent per annum, illustrating the need for the sector to look at new ways to ensure that the industry is able to keep up with growing population demands. Justin Goc and his team at Tasmania's Barilla Bay Oysters have been working closely with Sense-T — a collaboration between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the University of Tasmania, IBM, and the Tasmanian government — to identify how sensing technology can help Tasmania's agricultural community drive future stability. As part of the project, biological indicators were installed throughout the farm. For the last two years, the indicators have been measuring environmental factors such as the salinity in water, the temperature in and out of water, and wind levels. The data collected from these indicators is now being collated to create a catalogue. Goc, the general manager of Barilla Bay Oysters, said that ideally, he would eventually like to see the data play a role in assisting the farm to figure out the mystery of why oysters fatten up or don't fatten up. "It can be a massive waiting game; sometimes it could just occur, and other times it doesn't. Usually, it's called seasonality. Why that is, the data may be able to shed some light over it," he said. Goc also believes that the technology may potentially be useful in helping the farm to further understand the biology behind oysters. "If we've got elevated temperatures and a lack of wind, then we will know if we're going to get an extended period of warmer weather, then that means we may have to accelerate our growing programs, because the oysters will grow quicker. This is instead of six weeks, where you might have to do it in four weeks to get the same outcome that you did before," he said. "All of these things can then be cross-referenced and help build a catalogue. We hope we can draw parallels between seasons and understand the biology of the animal, how it works, and why it's happy and why it isn't happy." However, Goc said that using technology in oyster farming can never replace a farmer's experience; rather, it would act as an assistant, to help fine tune their existing knowledge. "With oyster farmers, you can never discount the raw experience of dealing with your lease areas and learning the information yourself. These concepts are only there to help and assist our experience." For crop growers, the CSIRO has been trialling the phenonet system, a sensor network that collects information and monitors plants, soil conditions, irrigation levels, and other environmental conditions such as weather patterns to help farmers become better informed about which crops they should plant to get a better harvest. Arkady Zaslavsky, CSIRO digital productivity senior principal research scientist, said during a Gartner presentation in February that farmers are after information that will let them know what they need to do. "Not only from experience, but through the use of science, so they need to know the weather forecast, when to irrigate, how much fertilisation to put in, and so on." He highlighted, though, that only a small percentage of the information collected from the fields is considered valuable. "We collect the data from the field every five minutes, where there is a sensor reading of about 20 bytes. When you multiply that by the amount of sensors in the amount of plots, where there is potentially over 1 million plots, we are dealing with petabytes of agricultural data just coming from digital agricultural fields. "Now, if we look at this data in terms of what is useful for processing, it turns out that 99.95 percent of that data is useless. Only 0.5 percent of the data is called 'golden' data points, which we use for processing and visualising," he said. At the same time, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are now looking at the possibility of using robots to help crop farmers improve their productivity. QUT has designed a prototype AgBot II equipped with cameras, sensors, and software that can navigate, detect, and classify weeds and manage them either chemically or mechanically. It has also been designed to apply fertiliser for site-specific crop management. Trials of the technology are expected to commence in June 2015. QUT robotics professor Tristan Perez said there is enormous potential to give farmers access to data that will assist them in management decisions, particularly given that weed and pest management in crops is a serious problem. He added that the AgBots could potentially replace large, expensive tractors, and work 24 hours a day. "There is enormous potential for AgBots to be combined with sensor networks and drones to provide a farmer with large amounts of data, which ... can be combined with mathematical models and novel statistical techniques (big data analytics) to extract key information for management decisions — not only on when to apply herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers, but how much to use," he said. Meanwhile, cows are being tagged with collars installed with GPS tracking to enable farmers to locate their herds, identify where they go and where they feed, and examine the health of each individual animal. The CSIRO is currently trialling the technology in its Smart Farm in New England, New South Wales, and Smart Homestead in Townsville, Queensland. Zaslavsky said one of the biggest challenges that the data collected from the cows — roughly 200MB of data per cow each year — helps farmers address is in early detection of when an animal becomes sick. This enables farmers to separate the individual animal from the herd and maintain the health of the others. Raja Jurdak, CSIRO autonomous systems principal research scientist, added that the vision the CSIRO has for the Smart Farm is for all the information collected from the cows to be fed back to farmers on a single dashboard, creating a support system to better manage farms. For example, it could help farmers decide when they should bring their animals in, when to irrigate, and when there are abnormalities in an animal's behaviour. "[Farmers] would often have infrequent access to information, and, if they do, it's often through manual inspection by having the animal on a scale. Typically, it's very labour intensive to get the animals there," he said. "With the new approach, you'd have a structure and an automated scale with data connectivity, and that would facilitate the process a lot more." Jurdak added that the organisation sees the potential of using the collars for sheep farming, too, as farmers are looking to trace where each animal goes, where it grazes, the quality of its milk, and the state of its wool. "We've tested some sensors on some pregnant sheep, because when a sheep is pregnant, there is a certain pattern of movement that characterises that they are pregnant. Our sensors can detect that movement, so we can closely monitor the sheep at that time to make sure that when it gives birth, it's a healthy lamb," he said.

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