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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
TAKING UTOPIA TO PARIS A 64-year-old Australian Aboriginal artist has joined Jane Birkin and Grace Kelly as a design ambassador for French luxury brand Hermes. Gloria Petyarre was the first Australian artist to be invited to work for the French label and her scarf design -- with a bush medicine motif inspired by her home in Utopia, Northern Territory -- is now on sale globally. Hermes boss Pierre-Alexis Dumas approached Petyarre to design a limited edition scarf. She accepted and in the tradition of the Birkin and Kelly bags, the scarf was named after the muse. The Le Rêve de Gloria scarf, meaning 'The Dream of Gloria' was featured as part of the travel themed Spring Summer Collection 2009. great ideas 16 AUSTRALIAN INNOVATOR S ARE MAKING GLOBAL MIND CONTROL Imagine you are playing a video game, but instead of using a conventional hand-held control you are playing simply with your thoughts. Sydney-based electronics company Emotiv Systems has launched a gaming headset that can sense brainwaves and order actions -- the precursor to controlling objects with your brain. "It's based on the electroencephalography [EEG] system of recording brain patterns by picking up electrical signals through firing neurons within the brain. It is the first non-invasive solution to brain control interface in history," says Dr Geoffrey Mackellar, R&D manager at Emotiv Systems. First conceived by Professor Allen Snyder and young Australian entrepreneurs Tan Le and Nam Do in 2003, the technology is now being used in a variety of ways globally. "The headset monitors electrical signals from 14 locations around the head, processes this data and transmits it over a wireless link to the host PC," says Mackellar. "Frontal sensors detect activity from the frontal cortex, the 'conscious' high-functioning part of the brain, as well as electrical impulses from facial muscles and eye movements." The invention carries life-changing applications for disabled patients -- including control of electric wheelchairs, and mind-keyboard use. It also has huge implications for market research and product development, allowing researchers immediate feedback, straight from the brain of the participant. "Long term we will sell it as a high-end medical consumer application," says Mackellar. "One customer is using moving his wheelchair, others are controlling robots. Eventually the technology will be used for the greater good. Alzheimer's sufferers, people with cerebral palsy and people who have had strokes. It could really make a difference to their lives." The product is shortlisted for a 2010 Australian International Design Award, the peak body for promoting excellence of innovation in Australia. SPEEDY DIAGNOSIS A diagnostic technique taking less than 30 minutes, discovered by researchers at Monash University, speeds up the detection of mental illnesses. Neural Diagnostics Pty Ltd is commercialising Electrovestibulography (EVestG), which measures brain activity, capturing biomarkers to hasten diagnosis of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and depression. Australia's telecoms provider, Telstra, has acknowledged the potential of this technology, selecting it for the inaugural Telstra External Research and Development Program. Telstra will help Neural Diagnostics trial a wireless solution for EVestG technology, allowing access to its broadband network so diagnosis can take place in remote communities, with data sent back to cities for processing and analysis. EVestG has capabilities of no other non-invasive technology. It involves a chair that sets off electrical responses in a patient's balance system and sensors in the eardrums which capture the relevant signals. masters of Courtesy: Lauraine Diggins Fine Art