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Using AI in the fight against cancer

muru-D

Posted on August 24, 2018

2 min read

Maxwell Plus is a Brisbane-based startup applying AI to medical data to help find early signs of cancer which can lead to early, safer interventions.

Maxwell brings together my love of technology and its applications in helping make a serious change to the lives of millions of people.

Maxwell Plus started (as Maxwell MRI) mid-2016, shortly after finishing my PhD in designing the next generation of medical imaging equipment. My research looked at how to design MRI machines so they could be paired with radiation therapy for treatment.

This allowed images to better guide the radiation beam, getting it off healthy tissue. This technology worked well and has the potential to help a lot of people but relies on prior knowledge of where the tumor you want to treat is.

It was a conversation about this work that would eventually lead to Maxwell Plus. Talking about my PhD with Steve Baxter lead to the question “Why can’t we lie down in a machine, have data collected on us, and leave knowing what’s wrong with us and what we can do to fix it?” A good question. Over the next three months this question wouldn’t leave – a system like that was the technology-enabled future I wanted to create.

Fast forward two years and here we are. Maxwell Plus has gone through an accelerator program (RCL Accelerator – muru-D’s partner program in Brisbane), a round of venture funding (lead by Main Sequence Ventures) and has grown from two to 18 people.

Today we’re preparing our product for regulatory approval and working with some of the best clinicians across the world. We’ve been working with clinicians and patients to use AI to keep them healthy.

Working to create a world where diseases like cancer move out of the top 10 killers list and a world where medicine is about keeping people healthy, not just fixing them when they get sick.

There is still a long an exciting road ahead for us at Maxwell Plus but with great partners, a team of excellent people and passionate investors behind us, the future looks bright.

Tags: Muru-D, startups,

10 startups, six months, one muru-D demo night

muru-D

Posted on August 1, 2018

2 min read



Starting a company is hard. Doing it alone is even harder. This fact is one of the reasons accelerators like muru-D are such a valuable asset.

After six months of hard work, Monday 30 July was the night for our muru-D startups to pitch their companies to the who’s who of the startup community. Our most diverse cohort yet, the companies are working on a range of challenging global problems, from solving deforestation to building the aircraft that will change how we move around our cities.

The SYD5 cohort started their journey in February. As part of the program they gained seed funding, access to a purpose-built co-working space, a global network of mentors, alumni, investors and partners, and a trip to Silicon Valley.

It’s been a humbling and personally rewarding experience working with this cohort who are developing and growing incredibly diverse businesses. Our founders are making their mark in the Australian and global startup ecosystem while helping people and the world to be greener, healthier, happier, more independent and more financially secure.

SYD5 cohort stats:

  • 70% of teams have a female founder or co-founder
  • The average age of the founders is mid-late 30s
  • 60% of the founders are parents and of those parents, most have more than one child
  • 100% of them have shown incredible growth and learning

muru-D stats:

  • 128 companies currently in, or have completed one of, our programs since 2013
  • 200+ founders and co-founders in the muru-D alumni network
  • 89% of teams still have active businesses
  • We have supported 15 cohorts across five programs
  • Dozens of companies have done $1m+ raises
  • Half of the SYD4 cohort have now had $1m+ raises

Thank you Telstra for having the initiative and foresight for investing in this kind of innovation and disruption. Congratulations to the 10 companies who are now part of the global muru-D alumni family.

Tags: Muru-D, startups,

2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners: tech solutions for a healthier tomorrow

Tech and Innovation IoT

Posted on May 29, 2018

3 min read

Together with our industry partner Bupa, we challenged teams from across Australia to build Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions for some of the most interesting challenges in the health and wellness industry.

Wearable devices and diagnostic systems dominated the field at this year’s Telstra Innovation Challenge as teams showed how IoT technologies could be used to improve the lives of patients and assist those who work in the healthcare industry in providing the best care.

The teams across both Challenge streams worked hard designing, building and coding hardware devices that leveraged our Cat M1 IoT network capability and Bupa’s insights as a leader in the health and wellness industry.

Congratulations to our winners!

Our 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge winners



Public Stream Winner – Lynxx

“Sitting is the new smoking” – Ergorithm is a wearable device that strives to promote a desirable posture for its users. The team produced a belt using the Cat M1 board and a sensor, which can be calibrated based on the specific user, to monitor the user’s lower back posture and give real time feedback (i.e. alert if bad posture). In the future the design could be extended to also cover neck posture.




University Stream Winner – Team Laika (RMIT)

The Me-MG, a wearable EMG biofeedback unit, empowers users to exercise during home based rehabilitation by giving them real time feedback on their level of muscle activation and movement extension through a number of on-body lights and a display screen. One light will indicate the degree of flex in the knee and the other the muscle activation; together they will be an accurate measure of how well the patient is performing the exercise. The device must be calibrated to the individual by their physio based on custom thresholds that can be updated remotely over our dashboard. The dashboard is accessible to both the patients and the physios, and is a platform where they can access the muscle activity and flex data directly, review analytics, data tends, and set themselves or their patient’s goal for their rehabilitation over all.

Innovation Winner – Health is Wealth

A Point of Care (PoC) diagnostic system to detect presence and severity of Xerostomia (a.k.a Dry Mouth condition). One of the sensors measures the salivary flow rate implanted or by the way of removable prosthetics inserted in the mouth by a dentist. The other custom-built sensor measures volatile organic compounds (gases) coming out of the mouth. These sensors are connected to the IoT development board and the data from these sensors will be analysed using machine learning to improve the quality of condition detection.

The 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge finalist pitching awards event was held at Telstra Labs in Melbourne on 26 May.

Thanks to all of our sponsors who helped us deliver another great event in 2018.

Gold sponsors: Cisco, Ericsson, Telstra Health and Microsoft
Silver sponsors: Intel, muru-D, Qualcomm, Tekt Industries and Little Bird Electronics

Skygrow’s blue-sky vision: using tree-planting robots to fight climate change

muru-D

Posted on May 18, 2018

3 min read

Planting a tree is a considerable task, even for someone who knows what they’re doing. Multiply that task a hundredfold and it’s even more daunting – except if you’re using a team of highly specialised tree-planting robots to lay the groundwork for you. SkyGrow, one of our muru-D #SYD5 startups, has a high-tech solution that will be part of the future of fighting climate change and sustaining biodiversity and ecosystems.

SkyGrow founder and CEO Mark Stewart believes that this, more than anything else he’s done before, has the potential to address climate change and environmental issues on a massive scale. Mark has a background in environmental regulation, and has a longstanding passion for trees and addressing the growing problem of deforestation in countries around the world.

It’s a grand vision: creating a sustainable world for future generations. But to get there, SkyGrow’s mission is deceptively simple. It’s a mission of scale: planting trees faster than the rate at which they’re being cleared by development and deforestation. For that, SkyGrow and Mark Stewart are turning to technology. Stewart isn’t shy about the potential: “Everything we’re doing is breaking new ground – quite literally, in some cases.”

“…our vision is to be out there – planting trees, making a more sustainable environment for humanity.”

With the economic cost of land degradation to communities and governments pegged at $US231 billion per year and rising[1], it’s clear that we need to do more to address the growing lack of established trees and vegetation – and that’s before you consider the overall impact of climate change. Tree planting is the obvious solution, but it’s not so simple. And it’s a worldwide problem, one that Stewart says you can see if you go for a drive, not just one restricted to faraway places like the Amazon.

It is true that the face of massive forests like the Amazon have changed in recent decades; in fact, Russia now has the world’s largest forest area[2]. Deforestation due to industrial logging continues and the solution is simply planting more trees. The problem with current tree planting methods is that they’re highly manual, requiring lots of physically fit planters who have to be trained and traditional planting methods are just far too slow to counter the rate of deforestation. Other robotic techniques use flying drones to disperse seeds, but this method is not suitable for native plants that don’t grow well from seeds and it is also not effective where hard soils exist.

With the help of our muru-D startup accelerator, SkyGrow is getting the resources it needs to succeed. From laying out business plans to refining the way the founders make decisions, along with startup funding, the #SYD5 cohort entrant appreciates the help. “It’s been both challenging and rewarding; it’s really busy, but we’re covering a lot. There are components of the accelerator that have driven me to critique certain aspects of our business and this has helped us become stronger and more resilient.”

Tags: Muru-D, startups,

Say hello to the Verti-plane: the future of human mobility

Tech and Innovation IoT

Posted on April 10, 2018

3 min read

We took to the skies in Canberra in partnership with one of our muru-D SYD5 startups, AMSL Aero, to demonstrate its world-leading autonomous aircraft technology.

Imagine a morning commute with no traffic. Take that another step and imagine a morning commute where you can travel all over the city with no delays, producing no emissions, and without you needing to drive. That future may be closer than you might think, and the tech is being built right here in Australia.

Autonomous air flight

A member of our muru-D SYD5 cohort, AMSL Aero was founded in June 2017 by Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon with the mission to change the way the world travels by providing airborne transport that is safe, fast, affordable, easy to use and good for the environment.

They are doing this by building a world-leading Verti-plane, which is an aircraft that takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter but flies fast and efficiently like a plane. The team visited Canberra today to demonstrate a 1/5 scale prototype of their aircraft.

The Verti-plane uses patented technology that tilts the two wings to enable vertical flight for take-off and landing, and horizontal flight for fast (300km/hr) cruising flight. It flies autonomously and is electric, which means it is far safer than helicopters and is also quiet and emissions-free.

The electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft market is forecasted by some to exceed the value of the current USD $27 billion global helicopter market by 2032[1].

AMSL Aero co-founder Andrew Moore started out his career as an aeronautical engineer in the Australian Navy. He has over 20 years of experience in leading the design and build of helicopters and aircraft, and is an avid pilot himself following in the footsteps of his father who was also a naval pilot.

5G and IoT

5G will be essential to support the increase in IoT connected devices over the next decade, bringing greater bandwidth and also greater security and reliability with features designed for communications and control. Telstra will be able to offer the capability to support the command and control of autonomous vehicles so that the low altitude airspace can be more safely managed for aerial people carriers such as the Verti-plane.

Telstra’s muru-D Program

Telstra’s startup accelerator muru-D offers a six-month program for exceptional founders who are solving high impact, global problems. As part of the program, they receive seed capital investment and gain access to a global network of mentors, alumni, investors, and partners. Over 100 companies have graduated from one of muru-D’s five programs, and more than 15 of these having raised $1 million or more in funding so far.

[1] Source: IDTechEx Manned Electric Aircraft 2018-2028

Tags: 5g, innovation, IoT, Muru-D,