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Swinburne University opens $140m technology centre

Michelle Hammond /

Swinburne University of Technology looks set to enhance its reputation as an entrepreneurial hub, with the opening of a $140 million advanced manufacturing teaching and research facility.

 

Located at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus in Melbourne, the new Advanced Technologies Centre will strengthen the university’s focus on advanced materials and manufacturing.

 

The centre was partially funded by the Federal Government, which provided more than $11 million to the project, the majority of which came through the Education Investment Fund.

 

The IIF provides funding for projects that create or develop significant infrastructure in higher education institutions, research institutions, and vocational education and training providers.

 

Swinburne also received an additional $40 million in funding through the EIF for the Advanced Manufacturing Centre, to be built alongside the Advanced Technologies Centre.

 

According to Innovation Minister Kim Carr, both centres will expand the university’s capacity to produce job-ready graduates “for the forefront of advanced manufacturing technologies”.

 

“It will forge closer links between industry and research through Swinburne’s strong network of manufacturing scientists and engineers,” Senator Carr said in a statement.

 

“It will develop cutting-edge technologies and help keep Australian manufacturing industries among the most competitive, innovative and capable in the world.”

 

A Swinburne University spokesperson says the centres will provide “sufficient teaching and research space to take the university beyond 2015”.

 

The latest major innovation to come out of Swinburne is Ruby – the world’s fastest Rubik’s Cube-solving robot – which was recognised at the 2011 Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards.

 

It was built by six engineering students as their final-year project. The students are twins David and Richard Bain, Daniel Purvis, Jarrod Boyes, Miriam Parkinson and Jonathon Goldwasser.

 

“Ruby works by scanning each face of a scrambled cube through a webcam,” Swinburne professor Chris Pilgrim says.

 

“It then uses a software algorithm to develop a solution, which is fed to the high-speed robot through a real-time embedded control system.”

 

“The students’ combined expertise… enabled them to construct a robot with a fast computer vision-tracking system capable of very high precision movements and timings.”

 

The students are applying to have Ruby’s unusual skill recognised by Guinness World Records.

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