2011: Chiropractic Glove

We were approached to help in the design of a novel wearable glove to assist in the training of chiropractors; the concept became known as the Chiroglove

The client required a small device that could be fitted onto a glove and worn by a practitioner during spinal manipulation. Device size was the most critical constraint; we needed to capture a biomechanical description of a high velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) thrust - such movements are characteristic of spinal manipulative therapy.

Our design used a glove containing an embedded controller, a 3-axis accelerometer and a piezo-electric force sensor coupled to an analog to digital convertor. The piezo sensor was located on the glove finger to measure the force of the chiropractor's hand as the pre-thrust tension was applied. The accelerometer recorded thrust direction and velocity in three dimensions.

chiroglove pcb

This research project was the focus of Aron Downie's MPhil at Macquarie University. It was our highly acclaimed previous work with the pIEES device that prompted Aron to approach us. Aron is now considering commercial applications for the Chiroglove.

Download Aron's PowerPoint presentation here.


During his tenure at Macquarie University, Russell Connally developed a novel technology to overcome a major problem in fluorescence microscopy. The technology was shown on ABC TV on the New Inventors program, winning on the night and making it through to the Grand Finals of the show in 2010. The device is known as the GALD which is an acronym derived from "Gated Auto-synchronous Luminescence Detector". The GALD has been patented throughout Europe, USA and Australia and development of the device continues today.


Conventional microscopy makes wide use of fluorescent dyes coupled to bio-reactive molecules that can bind with specific cells or bacteria in a process known as labelling. This technique renders the target cells or bacteria brilliantly fluorescent when viewed through a fluorescence microscope; the problem with this method is the wide abundance of natural substances that exibit intrinsic fluorescence, that is they glow without having been 'labelled' with a fluorescent dye. This background fluorescence is known as autofluorescence and can be so intense as to render the conventional fluorescence microscopy useless.


Russell developed a practical way to eliminate this problem by making use of fluorescent dyes that glow for a long time after brief exposure to a strong light. Most of us are familiar with the 'glow-in-the-dark' stickers often used for children's bedrooms - the compounds used in these stickers are usually derived from a special class of elements known as the lanthanides and it is possible to use these elements to label bacteria and make them glow 20,000 times longer than conventional fluorescent labels; a phenomenon known as delayed luminescence.


So it is necessary initially to label the bacteria with a lanthanide derivative; europium is a particularly useful lanthanide for luminescent applications.

To visualize delayed luminescence in the absence of autofluorescence, we need to block our view of the sample whilst it is briefly exposed to a strong burst of light and then wait for a short time for the autofluorescing components to fade beyond detection. The obstruction blocking our view of the sample is then removed to reveal the remaining delayed luminescence to the eye. The GALD automatically performs all of these operations at around 800 times per second to give a full colour view of delayed luminescence in the complete absence of autofluorescence.

The end result is that even a single labelled cell can be easily resolved from complex fluorescent backgrounds and the process may be enhanced even further by coupling with an automated image recognition system that can fully scan a slide in tens of seconds.

staph aureus small

Latent Fingerprint detection

 When fingertips touch any surface they deposit minute quantities of chemicals exuded through the pores as a solution in sweat. Typical components deposited on contact include a range of organic molecules: peptides, lactic acid, branched chain hydrocarbons,  glucose, riboflavin and traces of DNA. Some of these molecules can act as nucleation sites for the common technique of super-glue (cyano-acrylate) fuming that results in a white deposit to outline the previously invisible fingerprint.

fingerprint image

 This technique is only effective on a limited range of substrates, soft materials such as fabrics, human skin and paper pose a major challenge to the forensic investigator attempting to retrieve latent fingerprints.

We are collaborating with a team led by Prof. Claude Roux from the University of Technology Sydney on novel methods based on delayed luminescence imaging for the detection of latent fingerprints. Our proposal is to use a 'smart' phone with a high resolution imaging capability (8 megapixel) and fit it with a modified GALD device. The image shown below was taken of a latent fingerprint produced by coating a finger with a very dilute solution of a luminescent europium compound. The fingerprint image was captured on a HTC smartphone to prove the feasibility of using the phone as a low cost handheld fingerprint capturing tool.

latentfingerprint detection 

 The image on the left shows a latent fingerprint on white paper that fluoresces intensely when illuminated with a strong UV source from the GALD. When this same area is viewed through the GALD the latent fingerprint can be clearly seen - the native autofluorescence of the paper is completely supppressed.

This was a proof-of-concept test, we now need to identify a technique to selectively bind the europium dye to the chemical components within latent fingerprints - this is an ongoing research project !


Cochlear Limited is an Australian company that produced the first ever hearing implant to enable even the profoundly deaf to hear. We are proud of our association with Cochlear that began in 2009 with the construction of test units for their Speech Processor 12 (SP12) hearing devices. Since then we have built acoustic, wireless and electrical test systems for the SP15 and and their latest SP16 product range.


Scientific Controls

Precision heater for Fluorescence in situ hybridization


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