Australia Leading the Way in Robot Innovation

January 15th, 2016

wall-e-933315_960_720From the 1950’s Astro Boy and Iron Man comic illustrations to the more recent Wall-E and Chappie characters that lit up our cinema screens – undeniably, robots have frequently been depicted in works of fiction. However, in 2016 is fiction becoming more of an everyday reality?

Indeed, for the past century, innovation in robots, machine and androids has been on an exponential curve.  Certainly, 2015 was the tipping point in the global adoption of the Internet, digital medical devices, gene editing, drones, and solar energy. However, 2016 is set to be the beginning of an even bigger revolution and, most notably, Australia leading the way in several examples of machine innovation.

For instance, on the Great Barrier Reef, a robot formed to hunt for and regulate the crown-of-thorns starfish — liable for an estimated 40% decline in the reef’s coral cover — is being dispensed into the wild. The COTSbot, constructed by the Queensland University of Technology, will monitor the Great Barrier Reef and inject the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish with a fatal dose of bile salts. Using GPS technology and powerful thrusters, the robot is constructed to cruise about a metre above the coral surface and using visual recognition technology, will look for the pests. The robot innovation is predicted to greatly assist in the eradication of crow-of-thorns starfish, hence, reducing one of the most significant threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

In addition, machine research in Australia is also spinning off new types of businesses. In Western Australia, a smartphone app for respiratory diseases is being tested at the Joondalup Health Campus. The technology is founded on machine learning algorithms which use only sound to diagnose and measure the severity of respiratory disorders without the necessity for supplementary hardware. The software application is now being taken to market by ResApp Health. The markets for ResApp’s technology include telehealth, emergency departments, clinics, at home use, and for the developing world where the customary hardware is too expensive.

Undeniably, machine innovation is being applied and researched at an increasing rate in Australia. Investment in technology via research and development (R&D) can aid companies in developing new products, equipment, machinery, processes and software that can aid their businesses cash flow, productivity and knowledge. Moreover, if a company is investing in research and development activities in Australia then they may be eligible for tax benefits. In fact, the government encourages businesses within Australia to do this by allowing business owners to offset research and development with the R&D Tax Incentive.  Contact Swanson Reed today if you would like to talk to a specialised R&D Tax consultant about the scheme.