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UNSW alumnus turns instrument entrepreneur

After completing his PhD in Chemical Engineering at UNSW in 2007, Dr Shane Cox founded Instrument Works Pty Ltd, a start-up company which creates user-friendly tools for scientific and industrial applications.

Dr Cox says that Instrument Works was conceived with a clear goal in mind. After witnessing the limitations of traditional laboratory instruments first-hand, he wanted to create new, simple but sophisticated tools which would allow users to ‘extract the maximum value from their data, with the minimal amount of effort’.

Shane Cox encourages students to think critically, to have faith in their own ability and to be open to new ideas and opportunities

Prof Greg Leslie, Acting Director, UNSW Global Water Institute

“Our work focuses on delivering hardware that is wireless and connected, and software solutions that are mobile-first, simple, intuitive and require little to no training to use,” said Dr Cox.

Among the Instrument Works product suite are the BlueBox-pH, a wireless unit which turns any standard pH electrode with a BNC connector into a wireless sensor using Bluetooth®; a selection of high-performance probes which are optimised for use with the BlueBox-pH (and will still work with any other third party pH meter); and the world’s first Bluetooth®-certified wireless pressure transducer.

These products are further complemented by the free DataWorks App, which allows the user to connect to the range of Instrument Works probes, and other Bluetooth®-enabled probes, to collect and share data. Compliant with good laboratory practice standards, the DataWorks app allows the user to immediately collect and store information, and share it with others in real-time using the cloud.

BlueBox-pH - Instrument WorksIn January 2017, Instrument Works received a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) grant from the NSW State Government, designed to provide financial support to start-ups to allow them to progress from a conceptual phase to product delivery. They were able to utilise this grant to take fundamental research conducted by UNSW and Sydney Water Corporation, and develop the Floc Strength instrument, which measures water treatment plant efficiency. This tool has since been tested at water treatment plants operated by Sydney Water.

Prof Greg Leslie, Acting Director of the UNSW Global Water Institute, said Dr Cox’s success exemplifies the best of UNSW graduates:

“Shane Cox is a great role model for our undergraduate and graduate students,” said Prof Leslie.

“He encourages students to think critically, to have faith in their own ability and to be open to new ideas and opportunities.”

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