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New exhibition showcases Enterprising Australians

By Questacon Media 10 Jul 2014

A new exhibition launched today at the Questacon Technology Learning Centre showcases some of Australia’s finest innovations and inventions and the people behind them.

Questacon’s Enterprising Australians exhibition tells the story of 35 products, processes and materials—from the Cochlear implant to a new barley breed for even healthier breakfast cereal—and explores the unique journey that each inventor took in developing their idea into a marketable, useful product.

“Enterprising Australians gives visitors an insight into the diverse origins of great ideas and tells the inspiring stories of Australia’s modern-day innovators. These examples can help guide young people in their own career choices and goals.

“Ultimately, we’re aiming to get young people involved in problem solving, design thinking and contributing to a productive community,” said Questacon Director, Professor Graham Durant.

Enterprising Australians was formally launched by Department of Industry Secretary, Glenys Beauchamp, who said, “This exhibition is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to building skills and capability and supporting science and innovation.

“Inspiring and motivating young Australians is key to generating a highly skilled workforce that will create tomorrow’s new ideas and generate new industries for the future.”

Enterprising Australians features video stories on innovations from a range of fields, including mining, agriculture, medicine, and automotive, amongst others.

“We’ve captured scientific pioneers like Ian Frazer talking about why he became a scientist, the challenges in developing the Gardasil vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus—now a $2 billion a year enterprise—and the rewarding moment of giving the first Gardasil injection,” said Professor Durant.

Other videos explore the industrial design, development and testing phases of less well recognised Australian innovations, such as the Safe’n’Sound baby capsule and Safescape laddertube for mines.

Two interactive stations give an up-close view of other innovations. Visitors can test their alertness with the Driver State Sensor System, which detects driver fatigue with face-reading software and cameras fitted into mining vehicles. This system is now improving mine site safety in 11 countries globally.

A digital microscope lets visitors zoom in on samples of work from CSIRO and other research organisations, including pest-resistant cotton, improved prawn breeds and sustainable prawn food.

The exhibition displays some of Australia’s most cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary research into electromaterials and nanobionics, with fibres that may in the future be woven into wearable health monitor devices, internal drug-delivery implants and even implanted into damaged nerves and muscles to stimulate tissue regeneration.

The exhibition was conceptualised, designed, developed and constructed at the Questacon Technology Learning Centre and is designed to travel to other venues. Enterprising Australians is delivered under the Questacon Smart Skills initiative funded in the recent budget.

Questacon Technology Learning Centre is Questacon’s second facility, located at 60 Denison Street, Deakin, ACT 2600.

Enterprising Australians opening hours: 10 am–4 pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Admission is free.

Media contact: Annie Harris, Senior Communications Advisor – Media, 0439 399 912