Small businesses deliver innovative solutions
Seventeen small businesses will share in more than $1.5 million in NSW Government funding to develop innovative solutions to well-defined problems, such as connectivity in remote areas, water purification and waste reduction associated with personal protective equipment.
Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the Small Business Innovation and Research program was helping local businesses solve long-standing problems, while boosting jobs, products and services in high-tech industries.
“NSW has great business innovators and we want to harness that talent. The first phase of this program will back small businesses to develop devices and systems that have the potential to benefit our people, the environment and our economy,” Mr Henskens said.
“We are investing in a range of innovative projects which include drone-surveying technology, navigation systems for people who are vision impaired and advanced filtration systems, all designed to meet specific challenges in NSW.”
The five challenge areas outlined under the program included Connectivity, Hyperlocal Navigation, Koala Count, Personal Protective Equipment and Water Purification.
Minister for Small Business Eleni Petinos said businesses will receive up to $100,000 to undertake three-month feasibility studies into their proposed solutions.
“This program is harnessing the power of local innovation and supporting small businesses by investing in ideas to create jobs and change lives,” Ms Petinos said.
NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the program has received a huge response from local innovators.
“We hosted webinars which were attended by over 250 local businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers. The response has been overwhelming and shows the strength and depth of local talent,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.
Proof-of-concept grants of up to $1 million each will be available to businesses that complete a successful feasibility study. A new set of challenges and further feasibility grants will be offered later this year.
2021 SBIR Feasibility Study Grant Recipients
- Connectivity Challenge: to increase the strength and resilience of communications networks in regional and remote areas.
- Zetifi will undertake a feasibility study to assess the feasibility of the ZetiNet Connectivity Platform – a distributed network of off-grid small cells that can be rapidly deployed on existing power poles or as standalone pods to provide resilient long-range Wi-Fi and radio communications.
- Innovations for Humanity will undertake a feasibility study to develop a high-performance satellite terminal antenna system prototype which has the potential to be powered without the grid using sustainable power sources.
- Dandelions will undertake a feasibility study to develop an unpowered air-to-ground vehicle integrated with a communications payload to provide on-demand communication networks in emergency situations.
- Hyperlocal Navigation Challenge: to assist passengers with vision impairments to access public transport services.
- Acerca in partnership with UNSW and Redwood, will undertake a feasibility study to develop an Ultra-Wide Band system which can achieve highly accurate positioning of people and give guidance on routes and navigation.
- Advanced Navigation will undertake a feasibility study on the deployment of its indoor positioning technology to provide accurate location information within NSW transport hubs for users with vision impairments.
- AK Research will undertake a feasibility study to develop a location and navigation system using existing technologies such as A-GPS, GNSS and Wi-Fi access points combined with image recognition and augmented reality capabilities.
- BindiMaps will undertake a feasibility study to develop a highly accurate location and navigation system using an advanced fusion algorithm that will combine data from Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping techniques (using the camera of a smartphone), Bluetooth beacons, and inertial sensors.
- Chur Networks will undertake a feasibility study to develop a location and navigation system using AI-voice assistant, hybrid positioning algorithm and edge computing with flexible and open data sharing to help users with visual impairments access navigation services.
- Koala Count Challenge: to detect and quantify koala populations in NSW for the benefit of Koala preservation.
- Biodiversity Monitoring Services will undertake a feasibility study to develop a bio-inspired acoustic sensor and processing approach using an event-based spectrum analyser to deliver a low-power, high-efficiency solution for sensing acoustic signals associated with koalas.
- Ninox Robotics will undertake a feasibility study to develop and integrate improved, specialised thermal cameras into long-range drones to detect koalas over large areas.
- Ripper Group will undertake a feasibility study to develop comprehensive operation support approaches, methods and resources for state-wide surveys of koala populations.
- Wize Dynamics will undertake a feasibility study into the development and suitability of artificial intelligence to identify individual koalas from audio recordings.
- Personal Protective Equipment Challenge: to reduce waste associated with discarded personal protective equipment (PPE) and sterile wrap.
- 3rd Axis will undertake a feasibility study to develop a new plastic extrusion technology for the re-processing of decontaminated health waste and manufacturing a polypropylene filament which can be used as a feedstock in 3D printing applications.
- AusAir will undertake a feasibility study to develop surgical respirators and surgical masks using bioplastics, wool and other sustainable performance materials.
- Water Purification Challenge: to reduce microplastic and other contamination due to laundry services in health facilities.
- Infinite Water will undertake a feasibility study to develop a scalable ceramic membrane filtration system for microplastics removal and recycling of laundry effluent.
- PEGRAS will undertake a feasibility study to develop a system that uses a modified high-density coagulant for microplastic separation.
- Separtis will undertake a feasibility study to develop a system using electro-oxidation technology for complete degradation of microplastics in wastewater.