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NSW Small Business Innovation & Research program

2021 SBIR program Proof of Concept Grant Recipients

Connectivity Challenge

To increase the strength and resilience of communications networks in regional and remote areas.


Zetifi, in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), will develop a proof of concept for its ZetiNet platform, a suite of solar-powered wireless network devices and systems that use long range Wi-Fi to provide resilient, cost effective and rapidly deployable coverage in places mobile network operators cannot reach. This patent-pending technology uses a mix of stand-alone pods, existing infrastructure and satellite networks and has the potential to provide scalable connectivity systems for communities, emergency and government services, and industries in low population density areas.

Innovations for Humanity

Innovations for Humanity, in collaboration with UTS, will develop a proof of concept for a low-cost user terminal antenna system that will provide high data rate connectivity from a range of current and emerging satellite constellations. Designed for a wide range of users, including households, businesses, government services, community centres and emergency crews, these terminals have the potential to be powered off-grid using renewable energy and can even be portable.

Hyperlocal Navigation Challenge

To assist passengers with vision impairments to access public transport services.


BindiMaps will develop a proof of concept for its HyperLocal mobile app, which provides wayfinding and navigation services in complicated indoor and outdoor spaces for users with disabilities, particularly those who are blind, have low vision or use a wheelchair. The app uses smartphone sensors and algorithms to localise a user in a space with an accuracy level of 30 centimetres or better and guide them to their chosen destination. It displays routes on a map, but for users with vision impairment, it gives audio directions using a unique navigation language framework. The app can warn of changes in space, obstacles, hazards and points of interest, and can provide relevant contextual data such as departure times on a train platform.

Advanced Navigation

Advanced Navigation will develop a proof of concept for the deployment of its indoor positioning technology in Transport for NSW rail interchanges to provide accurate location information within NSW transport hubs for users with vision impairments. Advanced Navigation’s unique UWB-based technology uses cost-effective hardware and does not require precision locks or timing. It is also compatible with less capable mobile devices, increasing its accessibility.

Koala Count Challenge

To detect and quantify koala populations in NSW for the benefit of koala preservation.

Ninox Robotics

As part of its plan for the grant, Ninox Robotics will use long-range drones with advanced thermal imaging cameras to detect and count koalas over large and previously inaccessible areas across the state. The camera-equipped drones combined with machine learning will offer an efficient and cost-effective solution for accurately monitoring the koala population.

BMS - Biodiversity Monitoring Services

BMS will develop a proof of concept for a novel, bio-inspired acoustic sensing technology that will be used to create a more targeted and efficient monitoring device for koala calls. Unlike current monitoring tools, which passively monitor calls through continuous recording, the new device aims to actively listen for calls and only record when they occur. This will reduce battery use, data storage and analysis time, allowing for much longer monitoring periods and more comprehensive data on koalas.

Personal Protective Equipment Challenge

To reduce waste associated with discarded personal protective equipment (PPE) and sterile wrap.

3rd Axis

3rd Axis will develop a proof of concept for its patented 3D-printed ceramic extrusion technology to recycle plastic waste such as PPE and other hospital plastics into high value filament cord used as feedstock in 3D printing. 3rd Axis has partnered with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to provide product development and materials science capabilities.


AusAir has developed a range of surgical respirators, masks, and gowns that meet both TGA performance requirements and ASTM D5511 biodegradation standards. This suite of biodegradable PPE, known as the FILTRUM range, addresses the issue of excessive waste from discarded PPE in healthcare settings and beyond. It achieves this by displacing its traditional counterparts, creating a highly scalable and seamless solution to which is compatible with existing waste streams.

Water Purification Challenge

To reduce microplastic and other contamination due to laundry services in health facilities.


PEGRAS will develop a proof of concept for its Mini Wastewater Treatment Plant, designed to provide at-the-source treatment of sewage from industrial processes. The water additive used in the plant has been shown to trap nano and microplastics and other suspended particles, allowing them to be easily removed. PEGRAS’s additive is a world-first, and is low cost, non-toxic and scalable, as well as generating significant water savings.

Infinite Water

Infinite Water will develop the proof of concept for its compact, scalable and fully automated water recycling system, which removes more than 99 per cent of all plastic microfibres from laundry wastewater, preventing its release to the environment, while also producing high quality recycled water for reuse. Infinite Water will collaborate with UTS to develop a methodology to quantify the removal efficiency of its solution. There is a large global market for this technology across textiles, pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors.