Latest News Archive – Bionics Institute

Latest News Archive

Shadow Treasurer visits the Institute

November 12, 2014

The Bionics Institute has been building on its parliamentary engagement program over the past few months and we were delighted to host a visit by the Hon Chris Bowen recently. We hope to encourage support for greater investment in translational medical research and provide politicians with an appreciation of the breadth of our work and its benefits to patients as well as the advanced manufacturing sector.

Review of independent Medical Research Institutes

November 5, 2014

AAMRI welcomed the announcement of the Federal Government’s review to strengthen independent Medical Research Institutes (iMRIs). AAMRI President Professor Doug Hilton said the review was an opportunity to showcase the efficiency and impact of the MRI sector on improved health and economic outcomes for the nation.  Bionics Institute Director, Professor Rob Shepherd said, “The Institute will be looking to engage with the review committee to demonstrate our unique translational research position and how we will contribute to smart manufacturing if appropriately funded”.

Senator Ricky Muir visits the Institute

October 20, 2014

Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator, Ricky Muir, visited the Bionics Institute recently to gain a broader understanding of the Institute’s research and our position on the Medical Research Future Fund.  The extensive visit took in the Institute’s experimental electrode manufacturing, vision and hearing laboratories.  Senator Muir was impressed to see the ingenuity of the Institute’s research teams.

Open garden fundraiser

October 20, 2014

This weekend enjoy a beautiful open garden and support the Bionics Institute’s bionic hearing and neurobionics research.

       WHEN: Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th October, 2014

       WHERE: 23 Salmon Street, KOO WEE RUP

       ENTRY: $5 (Tax Deductible)

Music inspired by cochlear implant users

October 15, 2014

As part of the Melbourne Festival, composer James Hullick is presenting a music piece inspired by cochlear implant users.  Through four extraordinary recorded interviews James obtained the raw thoughts of what cochlear implant users experienced with music. more…

Senator visits the Institute

October 13, 2014

Independent Senator for Victoria, John Madigan, recently visited the Bionics Institute to gain a further understanding of the Institute’s research prowess and its potential to contribute to the Australian economy through high-tech development of medical bionic devices.  more…

Imagine a healthier future

October 1, 2014

An active health and medical research sector in Australia is essential to the future wellbeing of all Australians, and our economic future. The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Action Group brings together members from organisations representing all of Australia’s health and medical researchers advocating for the MRFF and the benefits it will bring to Australia’s health and prosperity. more…

A walk in the park

September 2, 2014

Our Institute team recently enjoyed a ‘Walk in the Park’ to support the annual fundraising and awareness day organised by Parkinson’s Victoria. Thank you to everyone who donated to the BI team – your generosity raised over $5000 towards the total of $224,573 to fund the search for a cure as well as the delivery of vital support services to people living with Parkinson’s disease, their families and carers.

Market of the mind

August 19, 2014

As part of National Science Week (16 – 24 August), ‘Market of the Mind’ is a free event where the cerebral, scientific and social collide. Visit the “Tent of Perception” this Friday 22nd August (5 – 9pm) to meet one of our researchers and find out what happens when eyes and ears don’t work, and how we can try to fix them.

Tune in to hear about the bionic eye

August 12, 2014

Tonight at 9 pm tune in to Vision Australia Radio 1179 AM to hear Institute Director Rob Shepherd and prototype bionic eye recipient Dianne Ashworth talk about the bionic eye project. The program will be repeated at 6 pm on August 14th.

Panel discussion with recipients of the bionic eye and bionic ear

July 29, 2014

A video of the panel discussion at the Institute’s annual public lecture is now available on youtube (click here). Simon McKeon’s keynote presentation is also available (click here).

Progress, posture and Parkinson’s disease

July 21, 2014

In 2012 we received a Brain Foundation grant to support our research of deep brain stimulation as a means to alleviate postural instability in Parkinson’s disease patients, which causes difficulty maintaining balance during everyday tasks such as walking, turning and standing up from sitting. Read about our study’s progress in the Foundation’s recent newsletter, ‘Brainwaves’ (page 5).

Taking the message to Canberra

June 17, 2014

On June 16th, Professor Rob Shepherd, along with representatives from Hear and Say Centre for Deaf Children and Bionic Vision Australia, participated in a ‘Human-Bionics Interface Frontiers’ mini-expo in Parliament House, Canberra. more…

Our 2014 public lecture

May 29, 2014

‘Can Australia be more than a mine, a farm and Uluru? – the case for innovation’. On the 17th of June the Bionics Institute will host its annual lecture and both a cochlear implant user and a recipient of Australia’s prototype bionic eye will speak of their experiences. We are very pleased to have Simon McKeon AO (pictured), 2011 Australian of the Year, as our key note speaker.

Federal Government’s commitment to medical research

May 14, 2014

Bionics Institute Director Professor Rob Shepherd praises the Federal Government’s commitment to medical research in the 2014-15 budget. The development of a new Medical Research Future Fund is visionary. Initially a $1.1 billion investment, the fund will grow to $20 billion by 2020. Dividends from the fund will be spent exclusively on medical research and effectively double the government’s investment in medical research by 2023 to $2 billion.more

Director receives medal for otolaryngology research

May 3, 2014

It was a great honour for Professor Rob Shepherd to be invited to deliver the Garnett Passe Memorial Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on May 2nd where he received the Garnett Passe Medal from the Chairman of the Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation, Dr Dean Beaumont (right). more…

What’s the future of music and sound?

March 11, 2014

Melbourne Conversations is a City of Melbourne initiative that uses the forum of free public discussions and debate on popular themes to speak with Melbourne’s various communities. On Monday 24th March a panel that includes Bionics Institute researcher Dr Hamish Innes-Brown will discuss how and why we hear, what we listen to, and how we listen to it. This is a free event at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne, from 6pm to 7.30pm (entry from 5.30pm).

A year at the Bionics Institute

March 5, 2014

The Bionics Institute’s 2013 research report is now available.

Click here to view the report and read about our recent research highlights. Our publications page also contains our annual reports, supporter newsletters and more.

It’s your shout!

10 February 2014

The Bionics Institute has joined ‘Shout for Good’. Visit their website or search for ‘Shout for Good’ in your App Store to download the free app to your smart phone or tablet device to start changing the world one shout at a time. ‘Shout’ is a donation platform designed to raise funds for organisations in a fun, simple and social way. So take the opportunity to shout the Bionics Institute a small donation, equivalent to a cup of coffee or a movie ticket …. a lot can happen from a little.

Improving the economic impact of Australian Research

13 January 2014

In the current issue of Australian Quarterly Professor Rob Shepherd argues “it is vital that Australia is an active player in developing efficient pathways to commercialise research, particularly as our mining boom slows and our traditional manufacturing sector shrinks.”  He outlines a number of ways Australia might improve its performance in commercialising research. Abridged version of Prof Shepherd’s essay.

Think ahead

9 December 2013

Think ahead is a new permanent exhibit at Scienceworks featuring advances in science and technology across ten themes including medicine and health, communication, and music and sound. Amongst the 200 museum objects and interactive displays are the prototype bionic eye, and early and current cochlear implants. View Prof Rob Shepherd’s video about the exhibit and future medicine.

Innovating for Victoria’s health

31 October 2013

The Bio 21 Cluster’s ‘Innovating for Victoria’s Health Expo’ is being re-exhibited during Melbourne Knowledge Week from 28 October – 3 November in The Atrium at Federation Square. This free event highlights the great biomedical research being carried out in Victoria.  For more information visit:

Open garden fundraiser

22 October 2013

This weekend enjoy a beautiful open garden and support the Bionics Institute’s cochlear implant and chronic pain management research.

       Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th October, 2013

       23 Salmon Street, KOO WEE RUP

       Entry: $5

Top 50 philanthropic gifts

14 October 2013

The ‘Top 50 Philanthropic Gifts’ were announced today in the inaugural celebration of Australia’s most significant philanthropic achievements. The Bionic Eye feasibility study (2005-2007) was supported by funds from The Ian Potter Foundation and the John T Reid Charitable Trusts to the (then) Bionic Ear Institute. This allowed proof of concept research and the groundwork to attract $42 million in government funding. more…

Bionic ear pioneer receives prestigious clinical research award

23 September 2013

Laureate Professor Emeritus Graeme Clark AC, pioneer of the bionic ear in Australia and founder of the (then) Bionic Ear Institute, has been recognised for his contributions to the development of the modern cochlear implant with a major US award. The Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award honours investigators who have improved the clinical treatment of patients. Professor Clark shared the prize with Ingeborg Hochmair of Austria and Blake Wilson of the United States. Lasker Foundation website.

Inspiring innovation

16 September 2013

Professor Colette McKay was one of three international researchers to receive the Victorian Government’s veski innovation fellowship for 2013. This program attracts ex-pats and their expertise, experience and networks to Victoria. Colette returns from the University of Manchester to lead the Translational Hearing Research team within the Institute. Read more about Colette’s cochlear implant research or view video.

Deputy Director receives Lions award

27 August 2013

For his many years of work within Lions, Prof Peter Blamey was recently awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award by the (then) District Governor of Lions Club of Balla Balla, Donald Cameron OAM JP. Lions International recognizes outstanding individuals by bestowing on them this award named after its founder.

Epilepsy researcher awarded prestigious Chancellor’s prize

19 August 2013

Dr Dean Freestone was one of six recipients of the 2013 Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in a PhD thesis from the University of Melbourne. His PhD research examined brain excitability in epilepsy patients with the aim of developing a means to predict an impending seizure. more…

Bionic Enterprises awarded Victorian Government funding

15 July 2013

Bionic Enterprises, a business arm of the Bionics Institute, was recently awarded funds through the State government’s Health Market Validation Program. These funds are to undertake a feasibility study, with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre as clinical host, for the development of a device for chronic pain. more…

Bionic eye teams welcome funding announcement

9 July 2013

Australian researchers welcome the Australian Government’s announcement of a funding extension for bionic eye research. The Honourable Kim Carr today announced that the Australian Research Council would continue to fund the research of  Bionic Vision Australia and the Monash Vision Group, which are developing different but complementary bionic eye technologies. more…

Discover more of our research…

4 July 2013

The Bionics Institute has launched a new site where you can search our research outputs, including the full text of journal articles. more…

Go ahead for Eye and Ear Hospital

20 May 2013

In this month’s State budget, the Victorian government committed funds to the redevelopment of the Eye and Ear Hospital which will include improvements for patients and upgrades to research facilities, as well as space for the Institute’s hearing and vision research teams. more…

The 2013 Bionics Institute Annual Lecture

12 April 2013

This week the Institute hosted its annual lecture and was delighted to have Dr Chris Roberts, CEO of Cochlear Ltd, as the guest speaker. Dr Roberts spoke about the role of technology as the turbocharger of growth and change, and how innovation creates a competititve advantage in the marketplace. The event attracted over 130 people from the general public, industry, government and academia.

Australia’s bionic eye showcased in Scotland

20 March 2013

The Bionics Institute is providing images and video of the development of Australia’s first prototype bionic eye to the Glasgow Science Centre for their forthcoming Body Works exhibition. This exhibition, opening on March 28, aims to raise awareness of the science that underpins human health and well-being in the 21st century.

Herald Sun features medical bionics research

8 March 2013

In early March the Herald Sun published a four-part series on medical research in Victoria. The series focused on the value of medical research to the State and the impact it has on employment, exports and high-tech industry. The Bionics Institute featured strongly with a substantial article on March 5 called “Building a new body” which discussed our work on the bionic eye and ear, and ongoing work in neurobionics.

Alleviating postural problems in Parkinson’s disease

11 January 2013

A recent ‘Parkinson’s Disease Award’ from the Brain Foundation will support research into alleviating the postural problems associated with this disease using deep brain stimulation. This project by Honorary Clinical Research Fellow Dr Wes Thevathasan and Institute engineer Thushara Perera is part of our ongoing neurobionics research program; Professor Colette McKay accepted the award on their behalf (video).

Senator visits the Institute

12 December 2012

Yesterday we were delighted to host a visit from Senator Sue Boyce, an Upper House member for Queensland. Senator Boyce met Institute researcher Dr Hamish Innes-Brown at the annual ‘Science meets Parliament’ forum in September. A long-time disability advocate, Senator Boyce was particularly  interested in our neurobionics research program and the possibilities it holds for chronic pain relief and other applications.

A year at the Bionics Institute

28 November 2012

The 2011-12 annual report highlighting the research and accomplishments of our scientists and engineers is now available online. Link to annual report. 

A cure in sight

19 November 2012

On November 18, Channel 7’s Sunday Night program featured a follow up story with Ms Dianne Ashworth, the first recipient of Australia’s prototype bionic eye device. Link to video no longer available.

Inspiring the next generation of scientists

9 October 2012

Over the next 12 months, two Bionics Institute researchers will work with a secondary school science teacher to bring real-world science to the classroom. more…

PRESS RELEASE: Prototype bionic eye a reality

30 August 2012

In a major development, Bionic Vision Australia researchers have successfully performed the first implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes. more…

Medical Bionics: An interdisciplinary approach

14 August 2012

View the presentations from ‘TEDx UWollongong’, an event that shared the latest research in the field of medical bionics. more…

Bionics Institute forms new department within the University of Melbourne

25 July 2012

The Bionics Institute has strengthened its relationship with The University of Melbourne with the creation of a Medical Bionics Department within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. more…

‘Medical bionics: how far can we and should we go?’

9 July 2012

Last week, Bionics Institute Director, Prof Rob Shepherd (pictured), and Andrew Alexandra from the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics gave a public lecture hosted by The Melbourne Materials Institute (University of Melbourne). The lecture, ‘Medical bionics: how far can we and should we go’, explored the medical and ethical issues raised by improvements in medical bionics over the past 60 years. Link to vodcast.

State Government Minister visits the Bionics Institute

9 July 2012

In early July we were delighted to host a visit from the Hon Louise Asher, Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business with Mr Gerry Moriarty, Chairman of the Board and Director Prof Rob Shepherd. The visit provided Minister Asher with an understanding of our research and recent developments, particularly in neurobionics.

Deputy Director awarded top science prize

18 June 2012

Bionics Institute Deputy Director, Professor Peter Blamey (left), has been recognised for his contribution to hearing aid design and bionic hearing with one of Australia’s most prestigious scientific and engineering prizes – the Clunies Ross Award. more…

Innovating for Victoria’s Health

12 June 2012

In late May, a health and medical research exhibition, held in Queen’s Hall Parliament House, showcased to parliamentarians the cutting-edge medical research taking place in Victoria. more…

Thank-you Ritchies and Colgate-Palmolive

24 May 2012

Last month, Colgate-Palmolive donated 10c from each product sold through Ritchies Supa IGA stores and raised $12,000 for our research. We are very grateful for their support of the Institute and their fundraising efforts.

Bionics Institute Special Seminar on Stroke Rehabilitation

2 May 2012

The Bionics Institute will host a special lecture, “The role of neural reorganization in stroke rehabilitation”, by Professor Randolph Nudo on Friday 18th May. Professor Nudo is the Marion Merrell Dow Distinguished Professor in Aging and the Director of the Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, USA. See flyer for details.

Support us by shopping at Ritchies during April

30 March 2012

During April, 10c from each sale of a Colgate-Palmolive product from any Ritchies Supa IGA will go to supporting our research programs in bionic hearing, bionic vision and neurobionics. For the locations of Ritchies Supa IGA stores visit their website, and for a complete list of Colgate-Palmolive products visit their website.

Bionics Institute Special Seminar on Deep Brain Stimulation

8 March 2012

The Bionics Institute will host a special lecture, “Electrical Stimulation to Adjust the Activity of Circuits and Networks in the Human Brain”, by Professor Andres M Lozano (RR Tasker Chair in Functional Neurosurgery, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada) on Friday 23rd March. See flyer for details.

Improving hearing aids for people with auditory neuropathy

23 February 2012

In auditory neuropathy, the sensory structures of the inner ear are largely functional; however, sound information is not faithfully transmitted to the brain and people experience great difficulty in understanding speech, especially in the presence of noise. more…

Auditory neuroscience workshop

8 February 2012

The Bionics Institute was a principal sponsor of the recent 8th Australasian Auditory Neuroscience Network Workshop held on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Institute researchers, Drs James Fallon and Lisa Pettingill, organised this excellent meeting that brought together scientists from Australia and New Zealand to inform, learn, and share knowledge of auditory neuroscience. more…

Deputy Director awarded prestigious fellowship

27 January 2012

Professor Hugh McDermott, Deputy Director (Research), was recently elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to improved sound-processing techniques for cochlear implants and hearing aids. Each year, following a rigorous evaluation procedure, the IEEE Fellow Committee recommends a select group of recipients for one of the Association’s most prestigious honours – an IEEE Fellow.

Innovation in Medical Bionics

19 January 2012

Bionics Institute Deputy Director, Professor Peter Blamey, was one of a select number of expert speakers who presented at the INNOVATION in AUSTRALIA 2011 event hosted by the Federal Government last December. Link to presentation (video). more…

Music for the Bionic Ear

11 January 2012

Robin Fox, one of Australia’s leading composers and performers of experimental music, and Hamish Innes-Brown of the Bionics Institute joined forces to bring a new musical experience to cochlear implant recipients. Link to video no longer available.

News of our research reaches new heights

12 December 2011

Somewhere between Melbourne and Sydney, or possibly Adelaide and Cairns, more than 262,000 people were treated to a six page in-depth story about medical bionics in Australia, and in particular the Bionics Institute. In the November issue of Virgin Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Voyeur, the article “Man and machine: How bionic engineering is changing the way we live” provided an overview of our bionic vision and neurobionics research programs, as well as describing the development of prosthetic limbs taking place in the USA. Full article.

“Excellent talks, superb venue, great food, wonderful country”

25 November 2011

The Bionics Institute is proud to continue its long tradition of leadership in the field of medical bionics research. We are committed to bringing together the people and the know-how to ensure progress in creating bionic solutions to major health issues, and our recent Medical Bionics Conference was another step forward in this progress. We’re delighted at the positive feedback we’ve received. more…

Neurobionics research program receives funding boost

9 November 2011

The Bionics Institute’s Neurobionics research program has received a substantial funding boost with $862,000 being provided by The Colonial Foundation over the next three years. This research program aims to develop and evaluate new implantable devices to safely and effectively treat people who have severe and intractable neurological or psychiatric conditions. more…

Waverley Probus Club visits the Institute

26 October 2011

A group from the Waverley Probus Club attended the Bionics Institute last week to listen to Joav Niran (pictured), a cochlear implant recipient of more than six years and an Institute Ambassador.  Joav was insightful and humorous when speaking of his personal experiences, particularly when discussing his first few weeks of familiarising himself with the device. more…

Institute keynote speakers at student-industry networking event

13 October 2011

Professors Peter Blamey and Hugh McDermott, Deputy Directors of  the Bionics Institute will be keynote speakers at NetWork11 a student-industry networking event. The dinner was held on Thursday, 13th October by The Victoria Network of the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology). more…

Bionics Institute research at world-leading cochlear implant conference 

18 August 2011

In late July, eight Bionics Institute staff attended the 2011 Conference on Implantable Auditory Prostheses in the USA. This pre-eminent conference is the ideal forum for cochlear implant researchers from around the world to present their latest findings and exchange ideas. more…

Carbon nanotubes for advanced bionic devices

10 August 2011

Bionics Institute research was recently featured on the cover of the prestigious international journal Small. The research reported on the biosafety of carbon nanotubes and their suitability as a component of advanced bionic devices  more…

Major Partner, Woodards, Unique Real Estate Challenge

4 August 2011

Woodards’ Director, Ruth Roberts, has been chosen by tv reality show, “The Block” participants, Josh and Jenna, to sell their house at 37 Cameron Street, Richmond, Victoria. The first Sunday’s fundraiser was highly successful with $3,400 being raised on the day. Congratulations and thanks to Woodards for their generosity.  more…

Pedal power to raise funds for medical bionics research

29 July 2011

After riding approximately 20,000 kms on a recumbent bicycle in Australia and New Zealand, John has raised $94,000 for medical bionics research at the Bionics Institute.   more…​

Director invited speaker at Royal Society

30 June 2011

Prof Rob Shepherd was an invited speaker at the conference Tissue Engineering in the auditory system: Paving the way from basic science to clinical practice held at the Royal Society in London. The talk was entitled “Preserving auditory neurons: intracochlear electrical stimulation and neurotrophins”.

New Institute launched

17 June 2011

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced that Australia has transitioned from the bionic ear to the bionic era of health and medical research.   more…​

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