The 8th BrainSTEM’s Innovation Challenge (STEM)


For the past term and a half, a small team of four Year 9 students have been involved in The 8th BrainSTEM’s Innovation Challenge. BrainSTEM is an organisation that connects students with lecturers or PhD students from universities within Melbourne to explore an area of interest. Our students have travelled weekly to Swinburne University in Hawthorn to work with Professor Paul Stoddart to create a solution to a real world problem.

Professor Paul Stoddart is Director of Swinburne’s ARC Training Centre in Biodevices. His research interests include applied optics and biophotonics with projects in the areas of fibre optic sensors, Raman spectroscopy and laser nerve stimulation.

Our students chose to design and create a prototype of a wearable device used to measure ones alertness or wakefulness. They researched, within the laboratories of Swinburne, that through the use of electrodes (gel and dry electrodes, and tiptrodes), we are able to measure brain waves from points at the top and back of the ear. With the use of an app on a smart phones, they plan to analyse this data to measure how tired someone is. Their wearable device was originally to be glasses; however, upon meeting challenges and technical glitches, they re-designed their product to be earphones with dry electrodes embedded into them.

Over the 12-week period our students were guided by Professor Stoddart through all of the stages of design and on Thursday evening last week they presented their research and device at The BrainSTEM Celebration Evening. This presentation, hosted by Swinburne University, was attended by those within the BrainSTEM community as well as university lecturers, parents and friends.

At the start of Term 3 we will be inviting Year 9 students to join the 9th Innovation Challenge. Students interested should contact Caity Faiman via email [email protected] .

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