The QDSA Showcase Event, held in October 2023, provided an opportunity for the Alliance and its key stakeholders to hear research updates from recent QDSA grant and funding recipients.
The event brought together more than 30 stakeholders, including Government and Defence representatives, QDSA member universities, and recipients of QDSA grants and funding from throughout the past 18 months.
The morning included presentations, interactive demonstrations, and networking, with research updates presented by:
- 2022 Collaborative Research Grant recipients
- Agile Command Control (AC2) Workshop funding recipients
- HDR Grant recipients
Collaborative Research Grants Updates
Professor Greg Roach (Central Queensland University)
Use of innovative technology to enhance ADF capability by adapting personnel for sustained night operations.
This Collaborative Research Grant is evaluating whether blue-green light-emitting LED glasses can help shift the body clock to aid adaptation to nightwork and increase a person’s capability during sustained night operations.
Six months into a two-year study, pilot data is available from the nightshift simulations. The team have been evaluating the impact of light interventions (varying protocols) over a series of back-to-back 12-hour night shifts to determine if a person’s sleepiest period could be pushed into the daytime.
In terms of Defence applications, this approach is a promising personable and portable solution, and it aims to enhance agility and improve the long-term mental and physical health of personnel working night shifts.
Professor Erik Streed (Griffith University)
QuAOCS: Quantum Atom Optic Chip Sensors
Erik Streed is leading a collaborative research project between Griffith University and the University of Queensland to develop quantum atom optic chip sensors (QuAOCS) to be as SWaP-C (Size, Weight Power and Cost) efficient as possible.
The applications of the research are far-reaching from precision quantum sensing, quantum enhanced communication, quantum assured position, navigation, and timing to remote undersea surveillance.
With QDSA funding, the chips have undergone preliminary photonic testing, and a second-generation silicon nitride chip has been fabricated.
AC2 Funding Recipient Updates
Dr Nigel Greenwood (Evolving Machine Intelligence)
Simulation-Based Demonstration of AI-Enhanced Agile Command and Control for Air Defence Scenarios
Nigel Greenwood has been collaborating with researchers from the University of Southern Queensland and the University of Queensland on AI-enhanced AC2 in Air Defence.
Nigel has developed novel forms of evolutionary algorithms and circuits to provide autonomous real-time analysis for timely, high-confidence, adaptive Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) responses. The university researchers have provided models for plausible hypersonic vehicles to enable these algorithms to be tested in realistic air-defence scenarios. Beyond the initial $225,000 research investment from the 2022 Agile Command and Control Workshop, Nigel and his research team have secured a contract for ongoing development and demonstration.
Dr Gary Eaves (CAE) and Professor Peter Bernus (Griffith University)
“How can we see the unseeable and how do we make informed decisions with lost communications on the ground?”
That’s what the AC2 collaboration between CAE and Griffith University set out to solve. Their answer is CAERidge-EW, an augmented reality (AR) sand table designed for collaborative mission planning.
This innovative system incorporates 3D modelling of landscapes visible through AR headsets. These headsets are equipped to recognise hand gestures, facilitating drag-and-drop actions, zooming, and movement, while also enabling remote collaboration. Guests at the QDSA showcase event enjoyed a demonstration of the ASGARD EW headsets.
Dr Matthew Stainer (Griffith University) and Prof Mick Reilly
Optimising Human Performance and Decision-Making in C2 Environments
Matthew and his Griffith University team in tandem with James Cook University’s Professor Mick Reilly presented insights into optimising human performance and decision making in complex, uncertain C2 environments as a team in a hierarchical structure. Defence applications include not only research space for fellow researchers to test their own scenarios but also live biometric monitoring to understand stress and cognitive overload and then biometric-enhanced training to take those insights and apply them in practice.
HDR Grant Updates
We published a summary of the research projects undertaken by recipients of QDSA’s 2022 HDR grants here. Below you’ll find an update on their research findings.
Michael Hencz (Griffith University)
Trapped ion Quantum Communication over Optical Fibres
Michael’s research is in the quantum and COMSEC space, with a specific focus on investigating thermal background noise in optical fibres to optimise quantum communication and cryptography.
Quantum cryptography is a communication system that is completely secure against being compromised without the knowledge of the message sender or the receiver thanks to the no-cloning theory. This theory dictates that data encoded in a quantum state cannot be copied or observed without triggering the destruction of the information and alerting the sender or receiver, making it a critical component in safeguarding sensitive Defence communications.
Alexander Zappacosta presented by Associate Professor Erik Streed (Griffith University)
Suspended waveguides in atomic vapours – an enabling quantum technology
Alexander is investigating integrated photonics for quantum-based sensing, working within Erik Streed’s team on the QuAOCS project.
The research project developed a newly designed integrated photonic chip containing multiple devices fabricated using silicon nitride. The goal is to use such devices for applications in field-based magnetometry and RF sensing. These quantum-based sensing platforms rely on saturation absorption spectroscopy.
Alexander’s research demonstrated that RF and magnetic field sensing can be achieved via saturated absorption spectroscopy and electromagnetically induced transparency, respectively.
Morgan Van Hoffen presented by Associate Professor Ingo Jahn (University of Southern Queensland)
Design and Simulation of Hypersonic Control Surfaces
How can we introduce flight testing early in the design process to improve productivity, address high costs of full-scale testing, impracticalities of computational modelling and streamline the design process?
That’s what Morgan has addressed in his QDSA funded HDR research project. His approach involves closed-loop wind tunnel testing and his own design of a multi-degree-of-freedom sting (MDFS) for the design and simulation of hypersonic vehicles and control surfaces.
The MDFS can both hold and manoeuvre model aircraft in both pitch and roll, making it a valuable tool for material and design validation in hypersonics.
Gerard McNamara (Griffith University)
Quantification of Wave Transformation using Electromagnetic Sensing and Machine Learning
Gerard’s Ballinga-based research is in the remote undersea surveillance space with aims to develop an uncrewed aerial system and remotely operated surface vessel to work efficiently with the ground base.
He is exploring the quantification of wave transformation using electromagnetics sensing and machine vision to determine littoral zone characteristics and track movements of submarines and other undersea activities.
This is large scale in-situ calibration study to optimise the machine learning model and thus far, it’s been a success. Currently, Gerard is tracking whales and floating mines for diving but is in talks with JCU for a mobile Northern unit.
Luke Schmidt (Queensland University of Technology)
Blood Flow Restriction Training and the Generation of Neuroprotective Peptides: a Future Stroke Treatment?
Luke’s research is focused on improving the detection of DV and LG3 neuroprotective peptides, with plans to deploy the new sensitive detection method in wearables sensors.
DV and LG3 are released following ischemic events such as strokes and blood flow restriction exercises. By increasing our capacity to detect these peptides, we gain the ability to monitor their levels, thereby facilitating pre-emptive training for ADF personnel for cognitive resilience.
Luke’s work represents a promising pathway to better outcomes in stroke prevention and mission readiness.
Sherrilyn Walters (University of Southern Queensland)
The effect of martial arts-based breath control training on the control and utilisation of intra-abdominal pressure, force production and spinal compression during heavy load carriage
Sherrilyn is the co-founder of the Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre Australia in Toowoomba, and her passion has taken a newfound purpose in protecting our Defence personnel when carrying heavy loads.
The physiological costs of Defence personnel carrying heavy backpacks can be severe. The spine is compressed, lung capacity and volume decreases, respirator muscle fatigue creeps in and injury risk skyrockets.
But by using martial arts-based breath-control training, Sherrilyn’s research has shown a significant reduction in diaphragm fatigue, increased respirator, and abdominal muscle activation, thus increased spinal support and unloading during load carriage even after a single session.
QDSA 2023 Showcase Event Recap
The QDSA 2023 Showcase Event served as a platform for providing updates of the Queensland-based research funded by QDSA in the last 12-18 months and their remarkable impacts for Defence. The event demonstrated the significant strides made by these research projects but also underscored the invaluable role of collaboration between university and industry.
Researchers from various Queensland institutions came together to solve Defence challenges, demonstrating the power of pooling resources and knowledge, the core value QDSA stands for.
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
QDSA has many upcoming events and opportunities, with more being added each week. Want to find out what is on the horizon? Check out our News section on our website here or subscribe to our e-newsletter here.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.