Students win national and international prizes

Andrew Botros, with the ‘virtual flute’ in the background. Also pictured is flutist Jane Cavanagh.

Andrew Botros was awarded the state and national Siemens Prize for Innovation (a prize of $25,000) for his honours project conducted in the Acoustics Lab. Andrew’s project involved the development of a web service called the ‘Virtual Flute’ that is now used hundreds of times each day by flute players and composers. The service is based on an accurate acoustical model of the flute that has analysed the acoustical impedance spectra of all 39,744 possible acoustic configurations or ‘fingerings’ of the instrument. It uses an expert system to relate features of these spectra to pitch and ‘playability’ of notes. The service presents a user-friendly interface to provide musicians with alternative fingerings for difficult passages, microtones and multiphonics. It is at

Rob Fearn receives the silver award the Young Inventor of the Year from Paul Chan (Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Hewlett-Packard) and Paul Herrling (Head of Corporate Research, Novartis International AG, Switzerland)

Robert Fearn won the silver award in the Young Inventors Awards for his work on new coding strategies for cochlear implants. The award, sponsored by Hewlett Packard and the Far Eastern Economic Review, included prizes ofUS$5000 in cash, and equal value in electronics goods, and trips to Hong Kong and California.
Robert and his thesis adviser Joe Wolfe, along with colleagues at Cochlear Ltd, have patented the new strategy. Prototypes running on developmental hardware are undergoing pre-clinical trials. These have showed improved pitch resolution, which is expected to improve the perception of tonal languages and the appreciation of music. Comments included “Instruments sounded more real”, “Singing voice appeared to sing the right notes” and “You guys are going to have to shoot me to get this processor back! I love it!”

John Smith and Joe Wolfe


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