Partner with us

D.Start Ignite Winter 2021 Cohort

In this section...

The following teams have been selected for the D.Start Ignite Winter 2021 program.


Lead Organisation: SME, Airpowa, NSW

The concept behind our idea centres on the ability for a RPAS to charge at high altitudes whilst achieving a minimum payload that can aid the military with enhancing its surveillance and reconnaissance performance.


Lead Organisation: SME, Atrax, QLD

Huntsman is a battlefield signals analysis platform in small form factor that identifies and geolocates known blue force and potential red force personnel and assets, and relays that information in real time to the command centre for analysis and action.

Australian Aerospace Industries

Lead Organisation: SME, Australian Aerospace Industries, NSW

Goshawk will be an autonomous coaxial compound helicopter drone, with a lift capacity of 100 kg minimum and maximum mission range/flight duration of 400 km or 10 hours. It will be a modular platform able to be configured for maritime radar roles, ISR roles, electronic warfare roles and submarine warfare roles. Currently we are working with Leonardo to incorporate a 20 mm gun for a gunship version.


Lead Organisation: SME, Acoustic and Optical Vector Sensor, NSW

BioAlarm is a unique immediate alert system for air-borne biological agents, ready to be developed into a device for deployment as part of a soldier's combat ensemble and on a wide range of platforms. It also can be extended to serve as a platform-based threat detection and identification system, for air-borne biological and chemical agents.


Lead Organisation: SME, Cybentus, NSW

The interdependencies between industrial control systems, communications, and water systems have created numerous challenges concerning security, reliability, and robustness. These vulnerabilities have been increased by the interoperable technologies created for a shift towards a smart water system.

In turn, these susceptibilities provide opportunities for adversaries to penetrate a network, gaining access to controllers to disrupt the water supply and wastewater systems, destabilising them in unpredictable ways. This project will develop multi-level security mechanisms to enhance robustness against failures and cyber-attacks, and enable the smart water system to recover from large-scale failures.


Lead Organisation: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, QLD

Dr David Harrich and team has developed a new therapeutic agent to treat dengue virus, based on defective interfering particles (DIPs). DIPs are potent antiviral agents that are highly effective at controlling dengue virus. The group has developed a system to mass-produce DIPs in order to undertake pre-clinical trials. The platform technology can potentially be expanded to treat other viral illnesses.


Lead Organisation: University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Currently, the inspection of ship hulls (including naval fleets engaging in warfare) relies on reports provided by specialised divers and/or equipment.  These inspections can put crew, fleet, and mission at stake.  To overcome these problems, we want to design and develop autonomous underwater vehicle-based solutions to bring real-time data about the health of the fleet to the planning table that enable decision-makers to confidently take global decisions to protect forces and country under/at/above the sea level.

Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd

Lead Organisation: SME, Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd, SA

REARM instructs where autonomous delivery vehicles should go and what loads to carry in order to meet troops' needs.

* Rapid on and off-road route-finding.

* Can run on low power computer hardware.

* Manages vehicles simultaneously with live tracking and display.

* Easy to use interface.

* Reacts to events – routes are diverted and plans updated if no longer viable.

* Estimates time of arrival, providing users with accurate expectations.

* Exploits AI to produce traversable maps.

Suitable for use in a range of scenarios; the core of the system is to predict evolution, plan actions, monitor for changes, react accordingly, and learn for next time.

Geocorr Australia

Lead Organisation: SME, Geocorr Australia, QLD

Corrosion Prognostic Health Management (CPHM) system has been utilised in many countries including Australia for the sophisticated management of defence and commercial equipment. However, there is a need for expansion of these key skills to provide significantly trained scientists to meet the industry needs.  As a starter company, we are committed to provide these specialised services in collaboration with ADF and Boeing Australia to regional parts of Australia and commercial clients to international market.


Lead Organisation: Monash University, VIC

Solution processable clean sustainable energy storage and conversion technologies are increasingly in demand as they are used in the production of lightweight, smart energy devices. The major limitations of this technology are the high costs of production and raw material, low stability, and the technically demanding manufacturing processes.

We have introduced new class of highly conducting, solution processable, metal-organic framework (MOF) materials that are extremely cheap and environmentally benign. The proposed project investigates new synthetic routes for the large-scale synthesis of this new class of materials. This will also provide us an opportunity to interact with industry for its large-scale applications.


Lead Organisation: SME, Hiroco, NSW

Based on extensive research, we have developed a prototype 2D topological mapping solution that enables robots to have spatial and situational awareness to a level previously unseen (98% precision).

Our mission is to extend this technology and develop 3D topological maps, which requires a process to segment a map into a collection of meaningful regions, such as navigable zones, which are given some constraints. Once this phase is complete, we will look to develop automated AI based situational awareness analysis.

Our preferred strategy is to target the defence sector and co-develop the technology based on specific defence applications.


Lead Organisation: The University of Sydney, SYD

This project seeks to ensure the efficiency and security of the microwave spectrum for military satellite communications. An increase in the number of transmitters and demand on bandwidth has led to an increasingly crowded microwave spectrum. The spectrum now requires frequency-agile mission configurable filter solutions to remove unwanted signals.

We propose a fully chip-integrated microwave photonic filter that has ultra-wide frequency tunability (40GHz), high-frequency selectivity (10-500MHz), and is fully reconfigurable (multiple pass- and stop-bands). Led by the Eureka Prize Winner of the Defence Category, the project builds on previous successes of the team in integrated microwave photonic signal processing.

KASPR Datahaus

Lead Organisation: Monash University, VIC

Real-time information about the availability and quality of ICT infrastructure is critical for risk management and decision making in information warfare as well as for conventional defence applications. KASPR Datahaus has developed a proprietary technology that can monitor global internet availability and quality at highly granular spatio-temporal scales in real-time and for any location on the globe. Our technology provides decision makers with timely, location specific knowledge about the conditions of ICT infrastructure during events of geo-political or humanitarian crisis. This information allows for faster and more accurate planning and allocation of military and emergency resources.


Lead Organisation: SME, Metakosmos, NSW

The company aims to produce next generation multi-layered space suits, with embedded digital biomechanics. The suits will be connected to artificial intelligence and machine learning enabled proprietary software. This digital capability enables data capturing related to body vitals, biomechanics and mobility, helping users train better and enhancing the spacesuit experience.

The three suit variants (Vyom, Aqua and Terra) will be customised for the various training environments of land, water and simulated microgravity chambers. 

The suit has the capability to be used across various industries.

Microbiome and Health

Lead Organisation: University of Tasmania, TAS

Gut microbiota (all the beneficial microbes) and the products they secrete have been clearly linked to human health. Our gut microbiota can be altered under stressful conditions such as poor nutrition (lack of fibres), extreme climate conditions, sleep deprivation or physical and mental exhaustion. An altered microbiota leads to decreased gut health and cognitive function. This proposal aims to investigate how combinations of functional foods can lead to improved gut health and cognitive function for people such defence personnel and emergency workers who are constantly exposed to stressful conditions.


Lead Organisation: SME, MUVi, VIC

MUVi is addressing healthcare-acquired infections that globally affect one in 10 patients. Around 700,000 people die every year from infections that are preventable. This also places a burden on the international healthcare system and equates to more than $60B in lost bed days.

MUVi is developing a disinfection system that kills superbugs in the air and on highly touched surfaces and equipment.  We are focussed on high-risk patients (e.g. those who are

immunocompromised or are the recipient of a bone marrow transplant) or patients in high risk infection wards (e.g. burns, ICU, operating theatres, dialysis, oncology, neonatal).We are focusing to reduce healthcare acquired infections and the impact to vulnerable patient that are immunocompromised in high risk infection wards, burns, ICU, operating theatre dialysis, oncology, bone marrow transplant neonatal wards.


Lead Organisation: SME, NextAero, VIC

Australia’s lack of sovereign capability in propulsion systems has led to a shortfall in our local defence and a significant gap in competitiveness in the emerging civil space industry. To combat this, NextAero is developing ultra-high performance aerospike rocket engine technology for use in both civil space and defence industries. The aerospike engine provides increased efficiency at low to medium altitudes compared to traditional nozzle designs. This increased efficiency enables increased speed and duration for hypersonic testing, or increased altitude and payload for space launch activities.


Lead Organisation: SME, NORRLINK, NSW

Vessel monitoring is one of the challenges of port security. Poor weather, out of radar range, and no radio connectivity allows vessels to go undetected. Subsea acoustic monitoring is essential for real time vessel monitoring and security. This project aims to deploy a subsea acoustic harbour monitoring network. The system will lay on the sea floor with minimal disruption to sea life and passively monitor all surface and subsurface vessel traffic. The network greatly aids harbour masters, providing vessel classification data, real-time positioning, heading, and speed over ground. It will also alert of unwanted ship movements or fisheries of illegal boat movements.


Lead Organisation: University of Wollongong, NSW

The aim of this project is to develop an innovative and adaptable decision support tool for Defence that is able to compare military capabilities within conflict scenarios by contrasting live, historical and predicted data with a view to reducing psychological biases that can be attributed to the decision-maker.

Red Piranha

Lead Organisation: SME, WA

According to the Australian Cyber Security Strategy 2020, cyber incidents targeting businesses can cost the economy up to $29 billion per year (1.9% of the GDP). For decades, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were overlooked when it came to affordable cybersecurity solutions, even though these businesses are a major contributor to the nation's defence industry. The Crystal Eye XDR Platform is designed for SMEs that need extreme security. It features rapid deployment, simple configuration and customisable alert tuning to reduce administrative burden. We're committed to offering superior security solutions and services at an accessible price so SMEs can access enterprise-grade ironclad cybersecurity. 


Lead Organisation: SME, RingIR, VIC

RingIR systems provide an unrivalled level of sensitivity and chemical identification speed in a portable form factor. Due to the high throughput sampling rating and cleardown times of this technology, these systems provide capabilities desirable for integration with mobile platforms such as UAV/UGVs. A control system architecture of this nature could assist in source localisation of both intentional and unintentional chemical releases, as well as measuring the affected environment to differentiate between hazardous and safe areas. Utilising onboard communications, this could effectively cordon off the perimeter of the hazardous plume, significantly enhancing the safety of operators nearby.

The Engineering Factory

Lead Organisation: SME, The Engineering Factory, NSW

The Engineering Factory delivers immersion cooling technology for datacentres enabling the highest performance, density, sustainability and longevity of computer hardware. This is done through our product partnership with Submer, where we have the rights to manufacture and develop the technology in Australia. The technology platform is suitable for central, graphics and data processing units (CPUs, GPUs and DPUs) of the highest grade and performance which support the functions of cyber security, AI, blockchain and high performance computing. Our product is commercially deployed and can easily be adapted for the Defence network. 

UXMachines Pty Ltd

Lead Organisation: SME, UXMachines Pty Ltd, WA

Our solution takes human performance metrics typically studied in Usability and User Experience and translates them to a novel dashboard solution specific for AI-enabled human-machine teaming. HumPT visualises human-machine performance parameters from teams of human ground forces working together with unmanned aerial vehicles. HumPT presents a dashboard solution showing: AI-proposed machine actions; human-team interactions/communication; human-defined level of delegation; representation of information uncertainty; predicted risk, and predicted outcome. This tool supports the human-AI-enabled team by providing human decision-makers with better understanding of AI-proposed machine actions, allowing them to dynamically override and delegate levels of machine actions for improved operational outcomes.

Vecta Pty Ltd

Lead Organisation: SME, Vecta Pty Ltd, NSW

Vecta's recent research has developed a deep learning based solution for detecting and identifying radio frequency interference signals in terrestrial cellular telephone networks. Vecta would like to expand that capability and be given the opportunity to adapt it to a suitable Defence application, for example EW support measures, spectrum sensing, anomaly detection, signal classification and attribution of interference sources. Access to subject matter experts and interested Defence groups will be key to developing the capability and achieving longer-term success.