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D.Start Spring 2020 Cohort

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The following teams have been selected for the D.Start Spring 2020 program.

Seeing in deep water

Lead Organisation: La Trobe University

For undersea operations, poor visibility is due to water current, suspended particles, low illumination, water absorption of spectrum, and imaging sensor noise. Undersea image enhancement technicals are essential in many applications including search and rescue, underwater equipment inspection, scientific survey and remote undersea surveillance. This project aims to develop a real-time underwater video enhancement technology which will be a stand-alone low-power embedded system. The system can be carried by divers or fitted onto an underwater UAV. The system will greatly help divers to quickly identify underwater objects and recognize patterns. It will also aid the onshore office in decision making.


Lead Organisation: SensaWeb

SensaWeb is commercialising the world’s first scalable real-time radiation monitoring and reporting system, revolutionising the current manual processes for the multi-billion dollar radiation, nuclear and environmental monitoring systems for industries including health, medicine, nuclear energy, mining, defence and research. Through the creation of proprietary IoT sensors and data analytics platform, SensaWeb provides real-time information on radiation exposure to immediately identify and manage risk. Compared to the 3-6 months it currently takes for exposure feedback, SensaWeb provides a critical life saving improvement when cancer causing exposures can happen in minutes.

Voyager Lungo

Lead Organisation: Fastwave

To provide a sovereign capability for air-launched, satellite equipped tracking buoys suitable for remote vessel detection over extended periods of time. Further, to build an air-launched, ocean drifting device capable of being fitted with a range of 3rd party sensors for Defence, Industry, Environmental and Research purposes.


Lead Organisation: Tidetech

Tidetech has identified that transfer of metocean data to warships is performed manually and in analogue form. Tidetech's existing technology automates metocean data transfer between shore and ship and is successfully deployed on thousands of commercial ships worldwide. The same technology, applied in naval setting, will simplify and speed up the process of decision making at sea and ashore.


Lead Organisation: Aegis9

Aegis9’s ESM is designed by cyber security specialists who are part of a dedicated Australian owned cyber SME. ESM delivers the entire Intelligence, analytics, cyber operations, architecture, detection, response, compliance, and risk capability into a single platform. This approach ensures visibility through the entirety of the environment, utilises information efficiently to enable faster decision making and response times, reduces the overall FTE footprint and is saleable for varying size and numbers of systems.

Osmotic propulsion of watercraft

Lead Organisation: Western Sydney University

We have conceptualised an osmotic engine with no moving parts that renders it silent and thus suitable for use in covert operations. It can drive pumps, turbines, etc. in naval ships but covert advantages are most exploitable when it replaces the commonly used battery powered propellor drive and rudder steerage systems of smaller watercraft used for remote naval surveillance. When powering submersibles the engine facilitates manoeuvrability in all planes with zero turning circles. It utilises salt as a fuel as an alternative to the present hydrocarbon fuels that increasingly threaten terrestrial climates and environments.

Sentio IQ

Lead Organisation: Ravinn

Cyberspace is a critical domain for military operations, however the understanding of cyber space and how it may be secured from enemy attack or utilised to achieve advantage remains a challenge. Existing 2D methods of planning and situational awareness are insufficient to enable a full understanding of the technical complexity and integrate cyber capabilities and effects into operations effectively. Our project will therefore explore the use of immersive spacial simulation technologies (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality) to create solutions which enable cyber situational awareness and enhance cyber security training.


Lead Organisation: DroneShield

DroneShield will build a Deep Learning-based software system enabling faster, more reliable detection of new Radio Frequency (RF) Signals of Interest for defence, governmental, and security end users. Land, sea, and air applications are all possible with a low-power-consumption approach that will lend itself to being embedded in hardware small enough to be hand-carried or sent airborne on a drone. With a phased approach built on a Convolutional Neural Networks, the complete solution will eventually eliminate the need for manual RF signature library updates, enabling fielded devices to autonomously detect and classify never-before-seen emitters and provide new levels of protection.


Lead Organisation: AddAxis

SightGraph offers capability that can respond to grey-zone activities; by modelling diverse data sources, detecting disinformation and information operations by adversaries, and predicting the effectiveness of offensive information warfare campaigns. The SightGraph toolkit combines human and machine intelligence, delivering insights through dashboards and API integration. SightGraph’s analytics support situational awareness, decision-making and optimise the precision of counter strategies to grey-zone threats. Our solution’s underlying capabilities have already provided insights informing high-profile analysis of information operations by the People’s Republic of China. SightGraph offers sovereign capability that supports the shift in Australia’s defence posture driven by the 2020 Defence Strategic Update.

Sonic Skunkworks

Lead Organisation: Swinburne University of Technology

Sonic Skunkworks proposes a one-stop solution for battlefield spatial hearing (localisation and awareness) for crews operating Armoured Fighting Vehicles. Research demonstrates that spatial hearing precedes vision in target localisation and although many AFVs are equipped with cameras, audio systems have lagged behind due to vehicle noise conditions. This project applies Ambisonic audio technologies to provide crews with cutting edge “easy to use” battlefield hearing, “audio-telescope” hearing, target sound display (directions and distance), vehicle noise reduction, remote spatial hearing (drone application) and finally new opportunities for immersive simulation-based training.

Biological passports of mental and physical health issues in serving and post-service personnel

Lead Organisation: CSIRO

In warzones and remote service areas, the military personnel are exposed to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards, traumatic events and stressors. These can lead to chronic mental and physical health disorders such as PTSD. Therefore, for both psychological and physical health, early detection, monitoring and intervention for faster return-to-operation-readiness or recovery of long-term health impacts is essential. An integrated multi-omics approach measuring Metagenomic-Microbiome-Metaproteome-Metabolome alterations will aid to comprehensively understand a healthy biological system and identify any deviations over different timeframes, stressors and challenges. This will aid towards identifying optimal performance biomarkers, allowing tailored approaches towards developing enhanced human performance.

Matrix Composites & Engineering

Lead Organisation: Matrix Composites & Engineering

Existing two-phase syntactic bouyancy for UUV platforms cannot scale to meet the needs of XLUUV aspirations. Three phase syntactic bouyancy, on the other hand, has been widely used as a cost-effective deep-sea buoyancy solution in the oil and gas industry for decades. Matrix seeks to adapt this technology to defence applications and provide a disruptive option for the XLUUV market.