2020 Annual Report

An important research outcome for any Centre of Excellence is commercialisation and the translation of research for the benefit of people and society.

An important research outcome for any Centre of Excellence is commercialisation and the translation of research.  This might take the form of product development or the establishment of new companies such as start-ups, spin offs or joint ventures. The Centre has proudly produced five such companies over the last seven years.

LYRO Robotics is the most recent start-up to emerge from the Centre, founded by Research Fellows Dr Jürgen ‘Juxi’ Leitner, Dr Nicole Robinson and Norton Kelly-Boxall. Based in Brisbane, and using the technology that won the Centre the Amazon Robotics Challenge back in 2017, LYRO is commercialising the world’s leading robotic picking and packing technology for deployment in Australia’s warehouses, supply chains and logistics operations. In 2020 LYRO secured vital seed funding through corporate venture capital fund, Toyo Kanetsu, and took first place at the Grand Final of Unicorn Cup, the world’s largest start-up pitch competition.

Cirrus Robotics is another Centre start-up that manufactures and sells the Penguin Pi, a small robot, initially created by Centre researchers and students based at QUT.  Cirrus was then founded by Centre Research Engineers, Dr Steven Martin and Gavin Suddrey, Cirrus has grown to provide a range of products and services and specialises in mechanical and electrical systems design, autonomous software systems and computer vision.

AlphaOne.ai was founded by the Centre’s Monash Node Leader and Chief Investigator, Professor Tom Drummond, and two former Centre students.  The start-up provides consulting services that help businesses learn how to deal with issues like handling big data for their customers, logistics and businesses processes, and dealing with a large number of visual inspections.  AlphaOne.ai assists businesses in developing and integrating supporting technologies into business processes to solve these problems.

Centre PhD Researcher, Adam Tow, set up the Australian Operations of Dorabot, an AI-Powered Robotics company developing solutions for logistics and beyond, in 2018.  Dorabot is a robotics company that develops automated warehouse solutions using cutting-edge AI and robotics, including computer vision, motion planning, mobility and deep learning.  Adam has since been joined at Dorabot by two more Centre Alumni, Peter Kujala and James Sergeant.  In 2019, Centre Director, Distinguished Professor Peter Corke joined the company as their Chief Scientist, using his wealth of technical knowledge and experience to advise on the groups research efforts.

Math Thrills, founded by Centre Chief Investigator Professor Michael Milford, is an educational program developed to engage children, teenagers and young adults in mathematics.  Michael has developed a range of content that is linked to school curriculum and is designed to be fun and easy to use. It engages different types of learners through multiple learning modalities including picture books, illustrated guides, young adult fiction, online animations, movies and face to face workshops.  The program and its resources are offered free to schools around Australia.

Supporting entrepreneurship

Centre PhD Students and Research Fellows indicated an interest in learning more about the process of developing a product or founding a start-up.  In response to this, the Centre delivered several training sessions around entrepreneurship and start-ups as part of its 2020 training program.  The training provided the cohort of early career researchers with insight into the tech start-up landscape in Australia as well as advice about how to get an idea off the ground and secure investment.

While the Centre will wrap up in early 2021, it is hoped that the list of commercialisation and translation outcomes to emerge from the Centre will continue to grow, as our alumni develop and apply their research to solving real world problems.