INNOVATION HUB MEMBERS
Meet the Innovation Hub businesses
FluroSat is an award-winning agri-tech start-up company that uses the power of scientiﬁc modelling, artificial intelligence and satellite-based remote sensing to deliver early, accurate and actionable information on crop health and nutrition to farmers. Predictive analytics produced by FluroSat models help farmers and agronomists make better-informed decisions and improve yields by simultaneously cutting fertilizer and water waste. In doing so, their models drive crop proﬁtability. Originally located only in Sydney, the opportunity to network and collaborate with agricultural and computational students and researchers in the ANU and CSIRO Science Precinct underpinned FluroSat’s decision to grow their business in Canberra. FluroSat has grown from two to 20 employees over the last 18 months. As part of this expansion, a development team of six staﬀ moved into the CEAT Innovation Hub in December 2018.
Gondwana Genomics is the ﬁrst company in the world to deploy DNA screening on a large scale to boost tree production in commercial forestry. By DNA testing a single seedling leaf, the company can predict a tree’s traits and key commercial attributes, such as growth rate and resistance to diseases. Using their in-house developed genotyping by sequencing method, Gondwana Genomics can identify trees that provide a stronger return on investment to forest growers. Their technology can identify superior trees at seedling stage for more accurate selection of elite trees that grow at faster rates than standard trees and produce better log quality. Their genetic marker-assisted selection (MAS) screening technology, initially developed in eucalypts and expanded to other commercially grown species, provides growers with insights into important traits.
Former CSIRO biochemist, Stephen Trowell, has founded a start-up company to allow food companies to check that their products meet the safety and quality needs of consumers. PPB Technology’s entry into the market will answer a burning question for millions of consumers – how to quickly detect the amount of lactose in lactose-modified milk. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk but it causes widespread indigestion in adults throughout the world, particularly in Australia’s key dairy export markets. While lactose can be measured through laboratory testing, it takes up to ten days and is costly. The Innovative Bioproducts team at the CSIRO developed a sensitive and specific test that can measure traces of lactose in less than two minutes. This is one application of “CYBERTONGUE® Technology”, which uses biosensors to measure a wide variety of trace components in fluids. Last November, PPB Technology, licensed the CYBERTONGUE® Technology from the CSIRO for commercial use. PPB Tech’s testing device is about the size of an esky, so it can be used in small industry labs and potentially on dairy farms or even milk tankers. But the company’s plans go well beyond lactose and the dairy industry. The plan is to raise seed capital, which will be used to bring the lactose test to market and to contract the CSIRO science team to develop new on-the-spot tests for food allergens and other contaminants. Stephen moved into the CEAT Innovation Hub in early 2019, to benefit from the innovation culture. CEAT allows him to be independent from CSIRO whilst maintaining close links to that organisation. As Stephen and his Board are looking to build PPB Technology into a global business, they were attracted to CEAT’s community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Using a combination of gaming, collective intelligence, machine learning and AI technologies, QuestaGame is helping protect Australia’s food security and agriculture from invasive threats through the early detection and containment of harmful species. QuestaGame collects data in over 40 countries, and is currently Australia's largest provider of daily, expert-verified biodiversity data – including unexpected finds such as pest incursions. QuestsaGame shares its data with CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the world’s premier collections of biodiversity records. QuestaGame plans to facilitate learning and work opportunities for ANU students in ways that beneﬁt agri-tech entrepreneurship, while continuing to build its business. Two staff joined the Hub in early 2019 to help grow QuestaGame’s agri-tech products – particularly its BioExpertise.org and BioCoin.Life products.
Wildlife Drones is a tech company that has developed an innovative radio-tracking drone system for locating wildlife and pest animals. Their new initiative, Stock Drones, adapts this world-leading technology for the agriculture sector to improve livestock management and cattle mustering practices. Stock Drones enable farmers to remotely locate their stock from the air whenever they want, and without leaving home. The best part is that they can also do this year round for a fraction of the cost of hiring helicopters or aircraft, and it's much safer than using human piloted aircraft. It is a simple, cost effective alternative for farmers needing to locate their stock regardless of how vast, rugged or remote their property may be. Farmers can easily keep track of thousands of animals at the same time by attaching a small radio-transmitter to the ear-tags of key herd animals and then flying the drone around the property. The radio-receiver system on the drone detects the signals from all tags within range at the same time and downloads the data to a laptop, where it is automatically processed and displayed in real time on a high resolution map. Stock Drones are revolutionising the livestock tracking industry by providing great value in terms of money, time and effort.
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