UniSA leads information innovation

on Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

UniSA leads information innovation

The University of South Australia’s enterprising approach to research, digital innovation and industry engagement has been acknowledged with a haul of category wins and a merit at the 2016 Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) SA and NT iAwards. Read more at UniSA.

New medical implant coating fights infection from within

on Monday, 23 February 2015.

New medical implant coating fights infection from within

University of South Australia researchers are developing new technology to reduce the risk of post-operative infection in biomedical implants such as hip and knee replacements.

With more than 90,000 hip and knee replacements performed in Australia in 2014, and the country’s population continuing to age at a rapid rate, the technology has the potential to bring significant benefit to both patients and the biomedical industry.

CEO of UniSA’s commercialisation arm UniSA Ventures, Dr Stephen Rodda, says the technology developed out of UniSA’s Future Industries Institute is primed for commercial development.

“This medical implant coating is another outstanding piece of technology to arise out of UniSA research and will make an excellent investment for anyone interested in future industries in South Australia,” Dr Rodda says.

Future Industries Institute Research Leader, Professor Hans Griesser, says the coating for medical implants combats infection by ‘stunning’ bacteria and discouraging them from forming infectious biofilms around the device.

“This cost-effective surface coating technology has the potential to transform biomedical devices and implants such as external fixation pins, hip and knee replacements, stents and catheters, which remain vulnerable to infection during postoperative recovery,” Prof Griesser says.

The novel coating releases nitric oxide, a biological signalling molecule. Nitric oxide is involved in signalling processes across a wide range of bacteria that can cause infection, making the coating suitable in the fight against a wide variety of implant and device infections.

Prof Griesser says not many people realise that bacteria communicate with each other and act cooperatively. Interfering with this communication reduces their ability to form a biofilm colony.

“Bacteria are social organisms that ‘talk’ to each other about whether a location is suitable for feeding and growth – and thus cause infection,” Prof Griesser says.

“We’ve designed a material that releases this molecule at a suitable concentration, which sends the message that it’s not worth staying around."

The biological consequences of nitric oxide depend on the dose, but generally these chemical messengers released from the coating interfere with the cell-to-cell communication between bacteria called quorum sensing, and also can induce bacteria to break up an infectious biofilm, making the bacteria more susceptible to conventional antibiotics.

Prof Hans Griesser“One or two bacteria are not a problem, but once they settle and multiply they become a problem," Prof Griesser says.

"After multiplying they form a protective biofilm which is harder to combat. It’s better to tackle bacterial infections before they have proceeded to the biofilm stage.

“Outside a biofilm, when they disperse, and are floating around in the blood stream, they are much more susceptible to the body’s natural immune defences and antibiotics.”

According to Prof Griesser, the same signalling molecule is also involved in human wound healing processes, so delivering it directly from devices and implants also promotes better wound healing.

While wound healing data are not yet available, he expects a dual benefit in that these released molecules should accelerate wound healing and at the same time stop bacteria from causing wound infections, which delay or even prevent healing.

Prof Griesser and his team are now looking further afield for medical applications for the technology.

“We’re looking at new applications where we don’t want to kill the bacteria – which releases toxins – but we want to stop them multiplying around the biomedical devices and forming biofilms.

“Importantly, the coating can be fine-tuned to different implants and devices, to address specific infection-risk circumstances.

“Our invention is based on an environmentally friendly process called plasma polymerisation, which is already used on a large scale by biomedical companies, such as for coating contact lenses and sutures, to deposit thin coatings effectively and with exquisite control of the properties of the coatings.

“In future our coatings might equip a wide range of devices and implants with the ability to release nitric oxide locally, where it is needed, to protect against infections at devices and implants.”

Dr Rodda says UniSA Ventures is looking for a commercial partner to take the technology to trials, with the goal of developing a commercial product in the next five years. Contact UniSA Ventures Commercial Manager Peter Harriss on 8302 5180.

Media contact: Peter Krieg office 8302 0965 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UniSA Design Student Wins ITEK Commercial Award

on Monday, 15 December 2014.

UniSA Design Student Wins ITEK Commercial Award

Nirmal Menon was presented with the ITEK Commercial Student Award at the 2014 Smallacombe Damn Fine Design exhibition.The exhibition showcased the work of graduating students from UniSA’s Master of Design (Industrial Design) and Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) programs. Nirmal’s medical training mannequin, developed together with Sandy Walker, was selected for exhibiting a highly entrepreneurial and innovative perspective on IP development and client relationship management. Nirmal received a $500 cash prize to help further develop the prototype.

Visit UniSA News to read more about the event and student projects on display.

Winners of Venture Catalyst funding announced

on Monday, 17 November 2014.

Winners of Venture Catalyst funding announced

Two student startups out of UniSA have been awarded $100,000 seed funding in an initiative to boost local entrepreneurship.



·      myEvidence is an app for gathering digital evidence to modernise and improve the efficiency of police work.

·      Jemsoft provides a patented security system to prevent armed holdups at retail premises.

Venture Catalyst is an initiative of UniSA and State Government. The next round of applications will open in early 2015.

Read more about both startups at the UniSA New Room and the Lead

Blood, sweat, tears, ideas: get funding for your start-up

on Wednesday, 10 September 2014.

Blood, sweat, tears, ideas: get funding for your start-up

The hunt is on for Australia’s next great invention.

Hills Ltd, the company famous for the Hills Hoist, is inviting innovators and entrepreneurs to submit their proposals for innovative ideas and projects that can be funded, developed and commercialised in the company’s two new innovation centres. 

Start-ups will be able to access funding, business assistance and the use of our Innovation Centre in Adelaide to accelerate the development of their products and services.

Applications for Pitch Day open on Monday 8 September and close on 14 October 2014.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend Pitch Day on 12 November 2014 where they will be given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of commercial and academic experts.

For more information visit:

Download the flyer here.

Innovative UniSA designers respond to ageing population

on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

Innovative UniSA designers respond to ageing population

Source: UniSA News

Creating a new nurse call handset, specifically designed for aged care residents living with arthritis, is the aim of a UniSA project team who have begun work at the Hills Innovation Centre in Adelaide.

The prototype handset is set to be the first fruit of UniSA’s new partnership with Hills Limited which has led to the creation of two new innovation centres, where new technological products are due to be designed for use across aged care, health and safety industries.

UniSA industrial design graduates, Robert White and Daniel Weiss (pictured above), together with industrial design lecturers Dr Peter Schumacher and Sandy Walker, are heading up the design team and are currently in the research stage of the 12-week project.

“A nurse call – or 'pendant' button, is often not suitable in aged care facilities for people who have arthritic conditions and may not have the dexterity or ability to use their thumb to push that button,” says Robert.

The hand grips that have been created as a first step in the project.

“So we are now researching and learning everything we can learn about arthritis and hand-held devices for people with arthritis. We are talking to specialists, as well as learning about nurse call systems and how they are used, to gain knowledge which will be essential for developing an appropriate design.”

Using technologically advanced design equipment, including a 3D printer, the team have begun by creating hand grips which provide physical and visual feedback of how people intuitively use their hands in picking up and holding items.

“We are following a new product development process, from the detailed brief to the research phase to product development, and we hope to have a prototype created within a few months,” says Robert.

For Daniel Weiss, the opportunity to create the product reflected a wider consideration that as more people live longer lives, they will require products relevant to their physical condition.

“We are an ageing population so there is going to be an increasing need for products to be more useable as we get older,” Daniel says.

“The world today is more designed for younger generations but as these generations age the technology and the way we build things around us is going to have to adapt enormously – within that there’s a huge opportunity for new products.”

Dr Schumacher, Program Director of Industrial Design at UniSA, says the project is a golden opportunity to have the team working out of the new innovation centre.

“This innovation centre has the tools to enable the team to go through the design process to validation,” Dr Schumacher says.

“The technology enables people to create a design and have something built by the printer machine – which can simulate different material properties – within two hours, ready for testing. This turbocharges the process enabling more adventurous thinking and better validation of design.

Hills CEO Ted Pretty outlined the market value of the new product.

“The UniSA proposal brings together clever design and simple functionality to improve the quality of care and make it easier for those Australians living with arthritis to connect with the support and help they need,” he says.

“The arthritis handset is the first project to go into our innovation centre with several more planned over the coming months. All of these projects have been identified as commercially and operationally viable with strong potential to go from the drawing board to the marketplace.”

Sandy Walker, of UniSA’s School of Art, Architecture and Design, says the collaboration between UniSA and Hills provides students with a bridge to gaining relevant employment.

“We have a long tradition of doing real projects with research partners but it is usually restricted by the academic year so we needed to develop a new model, one without timing restrictions,” Walker says.

“Currently we have a three year undergraduate degree in project design, a one year graduate diploma or a two year Master’s, on top of that this is an industrial design incubator – it can hopefully be a transition for recent graduates, such as Robert and Daniel, into employment to give them real life design experience in conjunction with organisations such as Hills.”


Aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs interested in turning their ideas or projects into reality can apply to take part in the next Hills Pitch Day. Applications open on September 8. For more information, go to the Hills website.