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The service and application of broadband technologies in Victoria will be strengthened thanks to a collaboration between the University of Melbourne’s Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society (IBES) and Huawei- a leader in providing next-generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world.

The University of Melbourne’s Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES) today announced its membership in a new research consortium - the Green Touch™ Initiative - which brings together leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry players and researchers to fundamentally re-invent the network and reduce ICT energy consumption up to a factor of 1000.

 A team of researchers in IBES is investigating ways to reduce the energy consumption of the internet.  Like researchers in a number of other organisations, IBES has made progress in understanding how network energy consumption can be reduced.

Finding a comprehensive solution to the problem of growing energy consumption in the Internet will require strong collaboration and cooperation between researchers from different backgrounds and from different organizations.

“The Green Touch Initiative provides us with the best opportunity to make real and significant progress on this key research challenge,” said Professor Rod Tucker, Director of the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society. 

“IBES is delighted to be part of the Green Touch Initiative, and stand with other members of the consortium on the threshold of a new era in information technology and telecommunications.   Outcomes from the Green Touch Initiative will be critical to the future of the entire industry.”

About the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society
The Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES) is a cross-disciplinary research institute at the University of Melbourne dedicated to technologies products, services, and innovations that maximize the benefit of broadband technologies to society. The Institute’s activities cover a wide range of fields including advanced broadband technologies, energy-efficient networking and cloud computing, online engagement, content creation and delivery, delivery of remote health services and education, business and service transformation, social networking, and entertainment. For more information about IBES, please visit: www.broadband.unimelb.edu.au.

About the Green Touch Initiative

Green Touch Initiative, a consortium of leading industry players, research institutions and non-governmental organizations to define the challenge, identify solutions and develop solutions with the goal to deliver the architecture, specifications, roadmap, and demonstrations of key components needed to reduce ICT energy consumption per user by a factor of 1,000 from current levels within five years. For more information about the Green Touch Initiative, please visit: www.greentouch.org.

For media inquiries contact Emma O’Neill on 8344 7220 or 0432 758 734.

The University of Melbourne’s Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES) today announced its membership in a new research consortium - the Green Touch™ Initiative - which brings together leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry players and researchers to fundamentally re-invent the network and reduce ICT energy consumption up to a factor of 1000.

Every time a mobile phone call is made or received, the handset user inevitably absorbs radiation. According to Dr Malka N Halgamuge from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Engineering, the effects of this on our health won’t provide specific answers for at least another decade so its best to take precautions with useage.

“The level of radiation emitted from your phone depends on a phone’s specific absorption rate (SAR) and this can vary with the brand of phone you buy," she says.

According to Dr Halgamuge, while most well known brands in the market have a low SAR reading, that doesn’t mean you’re safe to talk for as long as you like.

“While mobile phones have saved more lives than they may have harmed, using mobile phones for several hours a day could be a problem; as mobile phone radiation affects the temporal lobe (behind the ear) it could affect memory function in developing brains,” she says.

In 2007 Dr Halgamuge worked with the Department of Neurosurgery at Lund University Hospital in Sweden to investigate the biological effects on rats of radio frequencies emitted from mobile phones.

“The main thing we looked at was the leakage of albumin – a protein in the blood that is toxic to the brain – through the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) which protects the brain,” she says.

“We found that albumin leakage increased when rats were exposed to radio frequency from the phone, and after exposure to extremely low frequency from the phone battery.”

Rats used in the study were aged between 12 and 26 weeks, a stage in development regarded as similar when comparing blood-brain barriers to that of teenagers. Dr Halgamuge says considering this, there is good reason to be alarmed that mobile phones could have the same effects on humans.

“While our findings are alarming, our research only looked at short-term exposure and there is a possibility that neurons would repair themselves as time goes on so perhaps the problem is reversible,” she says.

The most extensive research project into the health effects of mobile phone use is currently being conducted under the direction of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The results of Project Interphone, which involves scientists from 13 countries, are due to be published later this year. Until then, Dr Halgamuge suggests the tips in the panel to the left as a precautionary approach.

A mouse that operates with the blink of an eye, remote control breaks for a kids bike and a car that drives itself. These are a few of the final year projects on display at this year’s Endeavour Engineering Exhibition at the University of Melbourne.

Predicting the time and location of a bushfire is set to become more accurate thanks to research carried out by a group of final year students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

Up to 1000 Robot Dancers could shuffle their way into the Guinness Book of World Records with an attempt for the word’s largest Robot Dance at the University of Melbourne tomorrow. 

Researchers from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering have moved a step closer in their pursuit of a zero emissions future with the launch of a highly efficient hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine. 
 
The prototype is part of a $2.93 million three-year Hydrogen Car project; a collaboration between the Brumby Government, Melbourne University and several local manufacturers.

The team at the University of Melbourne were led by Dr Michael Brear who said the project is working toward the creation of a new market for low-cost gas fuelled engines to support Victorian manufacturing into a low emissions future.

Dr Brear says the increased uptake of gaseous fuels like LPG, natural gas and ultimately hydrogen will be able to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions whilst improving our balance of trade.  

“Hydrogen fuelled vehicles offer the potential of zero greenhouse gas emissions, and are the end game in this development pathway,” he says.

“The engine technology we have developed also has applications in areas such as renewable and distributed energy production. This includes use as an off-peak electrical generator running off solar or wind generated hydrogen, or electrical generation from biogas. In all of these cases, very low greenhouse emissions are achievable using the same base engine technology.”

To optimise this research, the project will continue for a further 18 months with the aim of developing the most efficient hydrogen fuelled internal combustion engine in the world.
 
The project involves collaboration with several local manufacturers, including Ford Australia, Haskell Australasia, Mahle and Parnell, as well as the University of North Florida, through the collaborative research centre ACART (www.acart.com.au).



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