Electronic skin nominated for ASPIRE Prize

RMIT University

Wednesday, 06 June, 2018

Electronic skin nominated for ASPIRE Prize

The Australian Government has congratulated RMIT University’s Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran on being chosen as Australia’s 2018 nominee for the prestigious APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE).

ASPIRE is an annual award which recognises young scientists from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in innovation, research and education. Each APEC member economy, through its representative in the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI), is invited to nominate one young scientist under the age of 40 to be considered for the US$25,000 prize.

Associate Professor Bhaskaran was nominated for the award by the Australian Academy of Science for her work developing unbreakable and transparent electronic devices that monitor the environment and the human body and can be worn like an ‘electronic skin’. Her devices have practical and potentially life-saving applications such as detecting dangerous gases in mines, reducing skin cancer with widespread use of UV sensors and smart contact lenses that can analyse tears for biomarkers.

“Associate Professor Bhaskaran has developed technology that has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people in Australia and across the world,” said Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash.

Bhaskaran said it was an “absolute honour” to be Australia’s nominee for the 2018 ASPIRE Prize, noting that her research aligned closely with this year’s theme of ‘Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies’.

“This is an exciting and fast-developing field of research which could have far-reaching implications in health care and enable people to age well and age productively,” she said.

Bhaskaran is no stranger to the limelight, having been named one of Australia’s top innovators by Engineers Australia and received the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher in 2017. She acknowledged the work she has done with international collaborators in the US, Japan and Singapore on investigating smart materials for smarter technologies.

The Academy also recognised the work of two runners-up — Professor Michael Milford from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Professor Igor Aharonovich from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Professor Milford’s research covers robotics, neuroscience and computer vision. His work looks at how the brain performs tasks like navigation and perception, with his findings leading to applications across intelligent transport, mining and space exploration.

Professor Aharonovich’s breakthrough research on next-generation technologies spans health care, energy, communications and information. His work on atomically thin materials will support the development of revolutionary techniques to enable early detection of many diseases.

The ASPIRE award ceremony will take place at the 12th APEC PPSTI meeting in Papua New Guinea later this year.

Pictured: Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran.

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