Musical instruments inspire engineering

Arthur is the Director of the Monash Vision Group and internationally recognised for his innovation in optical communications and commercialisation of research ideas. He has used his love of music and musical technology to drive advances in global communications. He founded ‘Virtual Photonics Pty. Ltd.’ (now ‘VPIphotonics Pty. Ltd.’) which provides a sand-box of computer models of communications devices, enabling communications engineers to test their creations within minutes, rather than waiting years for hardware prototypes. In 2007 Arthur founded his second company, ‘Ofidium Pty. Ltd.’, to commercialise groundbreaking optical fibre multiplexing technology and still holds key intellectual property that enables optical signals to be transmitted further and faster along optical fibres.

Professor Arthur James Lowery

Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering
Monash University

Just how do you get innovative ideas in engineering? One way that has worked for Arthur is  inspiration from the ancient art of creating musical instruments. Arthur’s talk will illustrate how lasers and guitars share common physics, which has enabled him to devise faster simulations of lasers. Using a chain of guitar effects boxes, commonly known as ‘stomp boxes’, inspired his development of a flexible computer interface that enabled 1000’s of engineers to benefit from his simulations. More recently, valve audio amplifiers, jazz and garage bands have inspired improved methods of increasing the efficiency of communications systems.

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