Previously Funded Research Projects

Braincubator

Researchers Funding
Dr. Yossi Buskila, Dr. Paul Breen, James Wright Western Sydney University Innovation Fund 2013 – 2015

Problem: Neuroscientists use brain slices in their research, but these slices have very short lifespans of only 6-8 hours, so that only a few slices can be used per animal.

Solution: Our researchers have developed a novel incubation system that can keep brain slices viable for 36+ hours reducing the number of animals needed for brain research. 

HeMo

Researchers Funding
Dr. Paul Breen, Dr. Gaetano Gargiulo Western Sydney University Innovation Fund 2013 – 2015

Problem: Early diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease is crucial for effective treatment; however, assessment is costly and highly specialised.

Solution: A new non-invasive hemodynamic monitor we have developed, called HeMo, calculates peripheral blood volume enabling fast, easy-to-use and cost-effective peripheral vascular assessment.

VitalCore (formerly Pneumocardiogram)

Researchers Funding
Dr. Gaetano Gargiulo, Dr. Paul Breen Western Sydney University Innovation Fund 2013 – 2015

Problem: Monitoring both heart function and respiration in a non-intrusive manner is difficult, but would be of great benefit to clinicians in diagnosing heart and lung diseases.

Solution: We have developed an inexpensive wearable solution to monitor both cardiac and respiration volume based on calibrated volumetric measurements of the thorax. 

True unipolar electrocardiography

Researchers Funding
Dr. Gaetano Gargiulo Western Sydney University Innovation Fund 2013 – 2015

Problem: Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in the developed world and massive preventative electrocardiographic (ECG) screening is needed. Current ECG systems are biased and may lead to misdiagnosis.

Solution: We have recently invented and patented a new ECG device that removes this bias. 

Bayesian Inference with Spiking Neurons

Researchers Funding
Dr. Travis Monk, Prof. André van Schaik Endeavour Research Fellowship 2015

Problem: The perceptual performance of humans and animals on many tasks is well explained by a form of statistical inference called Bayesian Inference. But how is it that neurons in a brain perform the necessary signal processing operation to perform Bayesian Inference?

Solution: We build mathematical models and computer simulations based on first principles on how neurons may have evolved to perform this function.

How we know who's talking: talker-distinctiveness in speech timing

Researchers Funding
Dr. Jason Shaw ARC DECRA Fellowship 2012 – 2014

Problem: How does a listener disentangle from the same physical dimensions of speech both the identity of the speaker and the words being spoken?

Solution: Model the temporal dimension of speech as the interaction between a phonological component, specified as relational invariance between phonetic parameters, and an indexical component, specified as talker-specific distributions over the same phonetic parameters.

Pneumocardiogram 

ResearcherFunding
Dr Gaetano GargiuloUWS Innovation Fund 2013-2015

Problem: Monitoring both heart function and respiration in a non-intrusive manner is difficult, but would be of great benefit to clinicians in diagnosing heart and lung diseases.

Solution: Researchers in the MARCS Institute at UWS have developed an inexpensive wearable solution to monitor both cardiac and respiration volume based on calibrated volumetric measurements of the thorax.

Traces of Regional Italian Roots in the Speech of Italian-Australians

 

ResearcherFunding
Prof. Catherine T. Best, A/Prof. Bruno di Biase, Cinzia Avesani, Mario VayraUWS Partnership Project 2015

Problem: To what extent and in what ways do the speech patterns of large immigrant groups reflect their national and regional origins?

Solution: We are examining whether and how specific consonants are produced by first and second generation Italian-Australians with roots in two regions of Italy that use different base dialects and varieties of Italian, when they speak Italian, their native regional Dialect, and English.

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Dynamic properties of Australian vowels in production and perception

 

ResearcherFunding
Dr. Daniel Williams, Dr. Paola EscuderoEndeavour Research Fellowship 2015

Problem: Recent research has shown that the dynamic patterns of vowel sounds differ across British English dialects. We do not know if there is equivalent variation in Australian English and how native and non-native speakers perceive and use this variation.

Solution: Using AusTalk, a recent large-scale corpus of Australian English recordings as well as Western Sydney English recordings, the project will show whether variation in dynamic properties applies to Australian English accents and how it impacts speech processing.

Understanding different speakers vs. different accents: apples and apples or apples and pear 

ResearcherFunding
A/Prof. Paola EscuderoARC Discovery Project 2013 – 2015

Problem: Speech perception is possible because humans are able to normalize the variability in the speech signal. To date, we do not know whether the underlying skills to cope with different speakers and accents are uniquely human and specific to certain languages.

Solution: Researchers at MARCS will use innovative technology to unveil the details of an important component of human cognition, namely speech comprehension. The findings will lay foundations to advance both automatic speech recognition systems and hearing aids for human communication.

Ageing Creatively: Creative Writing as a Tool for Healthy Ageing 

ResearcherFunding
Prof. Anthony Uhlmann, Prof. Hazel Smith, Dr. Rachel Morley, Dr. Melinda Jewell, Prof. Denis Burnham, Prof. Chris Davis, Prof. Esther Chang, Prof. Paul Arthur, Dr. Rachel Hendery, Dr. Jason Ensor

 Internal UWS 2014-2015

Problem: While it has been demonstrated that writing is beneficial and increases the sense of wellbeing felt by those in aged care, the best methods for establishing writing habits that allow people in aged care to exercise their minds has yet to be investigated.

Solution: This pilot will compare two methods of creative writing training with people in aged care to determine how these processes add to the subject's sense of wellbeing and what benefits the methods bring for sustaining interest in the practice of writing.

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