Smart Surfaces for the Internet of Materials

Location: North Geelong, VIC (possibly time in Hawthorn)

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: June/July 2019

This research internship is funded in partnership with Innovative Manufacturing CRC.

Project Background

Smart surfaces and the Internet of Materials (IoM) are the next frontier of the IoT. Imagine Intelligent Materials uses graphene is an enabling material to create large area sensing surfaces for buildings, roads, mining, automotive and aerospace. The challenge Imagine is solving is getting meaningful information out of the surface without adding complexity. This is achieved by advanced analogue signal processing from the edge, followed by digital processing and analytics.

Imagine is seeking an electrical engineer with training in analogue signal propagation and analysis who can also specify/source hardware and program that as required and create simulations of the system under test. The project will develop new techniques to extract information from electrically conductive surfaces. An understanding of antennas, electrical resistance tomography, beam forming, electrical wave propagation and interference are key to the project.

Research to be Conducted

Techniques to locate changes in the properties of conductive surfaces give rise to antennae, capacitive switches and mobile phone touch screens. Imagine is adapting existing techniques and developing new techniques to extract time, location and magnitude data from large area, low precision conductive surfaces made from graphene all from the edge with no added wiring, batteries or sensors built into the conductive surface.

Goal 1 – Replicate existing 2D tomographic techniques (e.g. electrical resistance tomography) using large-area (ca. 3m x 3m) conductive textiles and to determine the limits of scalability and resolution.

Goal 2 – Develop new electrical sensing techniques for large-area pressure sensors, where the location & magnitude of an event can be identified and determine the limits of scalability of the techniques in the materials used commercially by Imagine.

The project will be part of a team effort and supported by materials scientists, DSP engineers and electrical engineers as required. Examples of similar sensing systems have already been developed within Imagine’s roadmap.

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following:


  • Electrical engineering degree
  • Mathematical simulation
  • Coding (C++, Python or other)


  • Expertise in analogue signal processing
  • Firmware programming
  • Hands-on experimental capability

Expected Outcomes

  • A prototype 2D tomography system using Imagine’s commercial conductive textiles that demonstrates the capability of such textiles to act as large-area sensors.
  • A prototype system using Imagine’s commercial conductive textiles and new sensing techniques that demonstrates the capability of arrays of such textiles to act as large-area sensors.
  • Theory as to how the sensing works and the limits of scalability, resolution and sensitivity.
  • Models/simulations of the sensing techniques.
  • A report on the project details.
  • A presentation on the project to Imagine management.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

29 May 2019


APR – 0942

  • Justin Mabbutt Business Development - VIC
    (03) 8344 6991 / 0413 050 952