2018 RMIT Seed Fund Projects

Miniaturised industry grade laser-induced graphene energy storages

Project Lead: Dr Litty Thekkekara (College of Science, Engineering and Health; School of Science)

Dr Litty Thekkekara’s research has developed a novel design for graphene supercapacitors with superior energy and power density to current technologies. The Seed Fund project will develop a prototype of a multifocal laser printer capable of 3D printing the innovative supercapacitor design within a commercially viable timeframe. The project will be used to secure funding from Tunghsu Group who have expressed an interest in developing and commercialising the technology.


FireLens: App and media platform image management system

Project Lead: Dr Seth Keen (College of Design and Social Context; School of Media and Communication)

The FireLens project builds upon Dr Seth Keen’s research into the development of a photo and video sharing app and media platform image management system for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Forest Fire Management Victoria and their partner agencies. The FireLens system will improve community engagement communications, and safety across operations and training for planned burning and fire suppression. The Seed Fund project will complete the design concept and technical feasibility study of the app, which will support applications to the Public Sector Innovation Fund and the DELWP ‘Safer Together’ Fund, for the first stage development of the app and supporting database.


Integrating energy efficiency & hardship improvements into the Care at Home system

Project Lead: Dr Nicola Willand (College of Design and Social Context; School of Property, Construction and Project Management) and Dr Debbi Long (College of Design and Social Context; School of Global, Urban and Social Studies)

Research by Dr Nicola Willand has revealed that improving energy efficiency and hardship in the homes of older Australian may produce co-benefits for public health and the environment. This Seed Fund project will look to integrate Climate Change Policy energy initiatives with Ageing-in-Place Policy home support care initiatives to realise these co-benefits.


Raman-microfluidic circulating tumour cell detecting system for cancer diagnosis

Project Lead: Dr Jianzhen Ou (College of Science, Engineering and Health; School of Engineering)

Dr Jianzhen Ou’s Seed Fund project combines research into the use of Raman spectroscopy for the identification of tumour cells with research on microfluidic systems to build and test a prototype of a device to be used for the rapid and inexpensive detection of circulating tumour cells in blood samples. The project will be used to attract further funding from industry partners who have expressed an interest in the technology.


Voice Story App

Project Lead: Mrs Naomi Wilks-Smith (College of Design and Social Context; School of Education) and Dr Li Ping Thong (College of Design and Social Context; School of Design)

The Voice Story App builds upon Naomi Wilks-Smith’s PhD into techniques that elicit verbal language and improve verbal proficiency in language students. It is the first project to be successful for two rounds of the Seed Fund with a minimum viable product (MVP) of the app built in 2017. Based upon testing of the MVP in primary and secondary classrooms the stage two Seed Fund project will complete the full development and marketing of the app for release into app stores at the end of 2018.


Indigenous-led Design Research Framework

Project Lead: Dr Christine Phillips (College of Design and Social Context; School of Architecture and Design) and Mr Jock Gilbert (College of Design and Social Context; School of Architecture and Design)

Dr Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert will lead an ‘Indigenous Knowledge Innovation’ project to explore values and co-create a roadmap to facilitate the formation and cultivation of meaningful partnerships through practice research between researchers and Indigenous communities. This roadmap will enable researchers from Architecture & Urban Design and Indigenous knowledge holders to build on co-existing concepts of land and space.


The Audiokinetic Jukebox: Repurposing 4D technology to deepen musical emotion

Project Lead: Dr Darrin Verhagen (College of Design and Social Context; School of Design) and Dr Jenny Robinson (College of Design and Social Context; School of Media and Communication)

Dr Darrin Verhagen’s research explores the emotional experience of audiokinetic choreography (music plus movement) using a D-BOX 4D cinema chair (also known as the Audiokinetic Jukebox). The Seed Fund project will field-test the motion choreography and system design with senior citizens in an aged care facility to explore commercialisation pathways and enable future research projects investigating the wellbeing and memory impacts of multisensory experience in ageing populations.


A superior self-cleaning membrane for oil/water separation

Project Lead: Dr Shu Huang (College of Science, Engineering and Health; School of Engineering)

Dr Shu Huang’s research has developed a novel membrane capable of separating oil and water mixtures with superior flow rate and lower cost than current technologies. Working with industry partner DIMER International the Seed Fund project will build and test an industrial scale prototype of the membrane technology to de-risk the commercialisation pathway.


Industry Engagement Pilot Projects

“I want my kids grown up strong”: Honouring cultural identity at the Willum Warrain Bush playgroup

Project Lead: Prof Libby Porter, (College of Design and Social Context, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies)

Place is central to Indigenous knowledge, culture and law. Yet in urban environments, where most Indigenous people live, the vital connection between place, culture, knowledge and community is often unrecognised. This Seed Fund pilot project, co-designed by Professor Libby Porter and the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association will document and communicate, through diverse indigenous directed media, the importance of Urban Aboriginal Gathering Places.


3D printed medical diamond

Project Lead: Dr. Kate Fox (College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Engineering)

Dr Kate Fox is a leading researcher in the use of diamond coatings to improve the biocompatibility of medical implants. Recent advances in combining this technology with 3D printed medical implants has gained interest from industry partner Suzhou Koumei Novel Materials. The Seed Fund project will be used to improve the co-printing diamond-titanium technique and explore antimicrobial properties to strengthen support from Suzhou Koumei Novel Materials for an ARC Linkage application.


Nanodiamond-polymer composites for nanostructured water filtration membranes

Project Lead: Dr. Philipp Reineck, (College of Science, Engineering and Health, School of Science)

ASX-listed De.mem Ltd. is a world leader in membrane based water and waste-water treatment solutions. Recently the company has expressed interest in the research of Dr Philipp Reineck into the use of nanodiamond particles to enhance the filtration performance and durability of their membranes. The Seed Fund project will be used to build and test nanodiamond particle integrated membranes and strengthen the partnership between De.mem and RMIT University.


Releasing Home Equity to support Ageing in place: Access, Appropriateness and the User Experience

Project Lead: Dr. Stuart Thomas, (College of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)

Dr Stuart Thomas is an applied economist and leading researcher in finance innovation including recent work on mortgage and home equity release products. This work has attracted attention from key industry stakeholders, in particular Heartland Seniors Finance who are interested in innovative financial products to support Australian senior citizens. The Seed Fund project will support a co-designed study with Heartland Seniors Finance into the user experience of new financial products and will form the basis of an ARC Linkage application.


Contemporary dynamics of Income Support in the lives of Australians

Project Lead: A/Prof Ashton De Silva, (College of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)

Research by Associate Professor Ashton De Silva and colleagues has identified the Australian ‘working poor’ as a misrepresented cohort falling through the cracks between the welfare system and the market economy. This Seed Fund pilot project with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence will develop more temporal, place-based and granular metrics of financial hardship to better reflect this cohort. This pilot study will form the basis of an ARC Linkage application with aims to recalibrate Income Support Payments for low income households and inform a redesign of broader social welfare, housing and labour market policies.