Australia may not be as famous as some other OECD countries for scientific advancements. But that doesn’t mean the country doesn’t have its fair share of contributions to the STEM field. The most notable of this is perhaps the development of the essential technology behind Wi-Fi. Australian scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) discovered the basics of Wi-Fi on accident.
Australia can also boast having invented the cochlear implant, spray-on skin for burn victims, and the mapping tech behind Google Maps. The future of Aussie tech looks promising as well. Here are some of the STEM developments the country can look forward to in coming years:
Australian Space Force
Australia has been one of the most notable countries without a space agency. Recently, the government announced plans for the country’s own agency for space research & exploration Australia. Get ready for the Australian version of NASA, which would pioneer space tech in the coming decades.
Inventing Space Neurons
An Australian start-up is currently trying to create a space-based “digital nervous system”. The idea is to develop satellite technology to advance connect machines better. If it comes through, this space internet could radically transform the rapidly growing field of Internet of Things (IoT).
Moving Forward with Developing a Quantum Computer
A quantum computer, unlike regular computers, literally works based on the speed of light. Quantum computing scientists research ways to use light, instead of electricity, to transfer data between points A and B. While replacing electricity with light still has a long way to go in computing, Australian scientists recently had a major breakthrough in the field.
A local team lead by the physicist Ben Bulcher conducted an experiment where they stopped light. Just like a “Star Wars” character, halting a laser beam mid-air, these scientists managed to halt light (sans the Force). This could spell major developments in the quantum computing field in the near future.
Turning Tyres into Fuel
Forget running cars on water. The country’s own Green Distillation Technologies may have developed a method to convert rubber into oil that can be used as a fuel. Rubber tyres designed today are extremely resilient. Though biodegradable, a rubber tyre can take up to 500 years to fully turn into compost. The scientists at Green Distillation Technologies want to instead convert these rubber tyres into a sustainable and eco-friendly fuel.
Weedicides without Harmful Chemicals
The negative environmental effects of using pesticides and weedicides are well known. To add to the top of worries like soil contamination, it turns out that some weeds are developing a natural resistance to commonly used weedicides. An Australian farmer named Ray Harrington is working hard at developing a weedicide that doesn’t rely on harmful, pest-killing chemicals.
Using Social Media for Good of the People
Social media has taken a lot of flak recently for everything from blatantly violating user privacy to election hacking. Facebook is in a hotbed of controversy for allowing advertisers near unrestrained access to user data. Did you know that Facebook can determine whether a person is bipolar based on posts (and then allow advertisers to target ads based on high and low moods)?
A team of Aussie researchers at Black Dog Institute is aiming to use this power of social media for good. Instead of selling your mental health status to advertisers, these scientists want to use social media to research important mental health topics. Not only that, the researchers then hopes to stage interventions to prevent incidences like suicides.
The immediate future for science and technology in Australia looks bright and shiny. There’s no doubt that Aussies will soon see more great innovations like Wi-Fi.