REX Orthopaedics Screw wins Curtinnovation Awards 2018

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An adjustable metal screw to repair hip fractures was one of the six winners sharing total prize money of $40,000 at the annual Curtinnovation Awards this afternoon…

The annual Curtinnovation Awards took place at Frasers restaurant this afternoon, with all the usual innovators, techies and university types celebrating the innovation that continues to flow from Curtin University.

Five winners walked away with $5,000 prize money, with REX Orthopaedics Screw taking the top prize of $15,000.

Winning team with Curtin University Vice Chancellor Deborah Terry

Hip fracture repairs are notoriously problematic, with up to 10 per cent of patients requiring further surgery due to screws loosening from the bone – a traumatic outcome for the individual and a burden on the health system.

In collaborating to address this enduring issue, a research team comprising Curtin University biomedical engineers Matthew Oldakowski, Intan Oldakowska and Brett Kirk and orthopaedic surgeons Philip Hardcastle, Marcus Kuster and Gabriel Lee have developed a superior surgical screw.

The expandable mechanism of the REX screw differs from other designs in that it prevents a gap occurring between the screw and the attached bone. This not only provides a stronger attachment, but also increases the options for screw placement – both of which can improve patient mobility and rehabilitation. Other team members include Garry Allison and Chair of Perth Angels Ian Brown.

Other winners were:

  • Innovation in Education: Dr Vanessa Rauland’s ClimateClever is a novel data-driven app that helps schools reduce their carbon footprint and save money in the process. Devised by Curtin researchers in sustainability, the app has three interconnected modules, comprising measurement, auditing and action tools. ClimateClever’s function and design provides an engaging approach to help schools address wasteful behaviours and reduce energy, water and waste management costs. It also serves as a collaborative learning resource that encourages students to understand sustainability concepts and practices.
  • Business & Law Prize: Global Grain Handling Solutions – Western Australian grain growers are making better-informed decisions about harvesting, due to an innovative combination of new grain-storage options and mathematical modeling. During harvest season, a range of factors can leave growers exposed to the risk of yield losses and/or crop downgrades. To help farmers better manage those risks, Luke Gamble sought the help of Ryan Loxton and his team Elham Mardaneh and Shiv Meka at Curtin University. Combining their expertise in mathematical modelling and computer programming, the team successfully developed a software tool that accommodates more than 60 inputs – such as crops, weather conditions, equipment and transport availability. Despite a complexity of variables, the straightforward spreadsheet design allows growers to readily explore their harvest options and identify the most profitable scenarios for their individual farm.
  • Humanities Prize: Curtin Challenge is an online learning platform that uses game-based elements to deliver content on developing creativity, leadership and problem-solving skills. This was created by the University’s Learning Futures Team including David Gibson, Melanie (Mel) Henry and Dr Melissa Langdon (also of BOSSMama fame). What makes it unique in the online learning market is its combination of educational, organisational and grading functionalities; together with the capability for self-directed team learning as well as individual learning.
  • Health & Sciences Prize: In Australia, the economic impact of food-borne diseases is about $1.2 billion annually. Unfortunately, routine screening processes for pathogens are time-consuming and expensive, and generally require specialist equipment and staff. The team of Ranil Coorey, Gary Dykes and Josh Ravensdale developed an efficient genetic test that signals the presence of pathogens through a simple colour indicator. Supported by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, the technology could soon provide a simple, quick and low-cost test for the routine screening of high-volume samples.
  • Science & Engineering Prize: ARISE Technology – Curtin University Prof NEIL FOSTER and team ‘s project produces micron and sub-micron particles of pharmaceutical active ingredients. Smaller particles are more readily absorbed by the body, which enables the use of lower dosages and offers reduced side-effects. The technology also lessens the impact that solubility has on drug effectiveness. For pharmaceutical companies, ARISE should hasten the drug development process, assuring a faster return on development investment.

You can vote for your favourite winner on the Curtin Innovation & Entrepreneurship showcase page – the winner taking home an additional $1,000 – where you can also view videos of all these winners.

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VIDEO BELOW: REX Orthopaedics Screw …