Institute for Future


26 August 2019

Robot-craft with a garbology twist, a superconductor prototype in action and a glimpse into our future with robots were just some of the highlights from IFE activities at Robotronica, attracting 22,000 people to QUT's Gardens Point campus.

IFE’s Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF) opened its doors for a rare, behind-the-scenes tour with QUT scientists visiting purpose-built laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment. Groups watched a liquid nitrogen demonstration, viewed samples under a light microscope, including a huntsman spider, ten dollar note and human fingernails, and visited the x-ray and proteomics laboratories.

Liquid nitrogen demonstration during the CARF laboratory tour

IFE hosted an engaging lineup of speakers including:

  • Future roboticist Somayeh Hussaini, who discussed her journey from Afghani refugee to high achieving QUT Mechatronics Engineering student
  • Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen who explained how mathematics and technology is helping us better understand patterns in cancer diagnosis and survival
  • Professor Marek Kowalkiewicz who challenged the audience to re-think their ideas on how artificial intelligence will change the way we work and live in the future
  • Dr Chris Lehnert who explored how robots could transform how our food is grown and harvested in the future
Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen at Robotronica

IFE Executive Director and MC for the speaker program Professor Kerrie Wilson said that IFE's successful involvement at Robotronica was only made possible by the enthusiastic efforts of staff and student volunteers.

"From our scientists who shared their knowledge during laboratory tours, to the QUT Education students who helped kids build robots from recyclables and IFE staff who encouraged budding scientists to dress up in our virtual lab, we enjoyed welcoming curious visitors to learn more about what we do at IFE and how our research is impacting the world.”

IFE Executive Director Professor Kerrie Wilson introduces speakers in the Atrium

Other exciting IFE attractions at Robotronica included:

Reduce, reuse and ROBOTICIZE!

Captain Garbology (otherwise known as Lee Constable, host of Channel Ten’s Scope) introduced young visitors to the science of waste and challenged budding waste warriors and roboticists to create robots out of recyclables.

Captain Garbology (AKA Lee Constable) poses with a fan robot-making fan

IFE Photo Lab
Visitors were invited to dress up as a QUT scientist and strike a pose in IFE’s “virtual lab” with a lab coat, safety glasses and test tubes.

A budding scientist strikes a pose in IFE's virtual lab

Little Robots Clubhouse

IFE’s boardroom was transformed into the “Little Robots Clubhouse” providing young children and their families with a place to create, play and take a break from the crowds. Kids enjoyed giant Connect Four and lego, a colouring-in competition and robot-crafts. Robot Revolution, a STEM storybook by QUT’s Professor Michael Milford was provided for little robots to take home as a gift.

The IFE boardroom transformed into a kids club for Robotronica



Institute for Future Environments

  • Phone: 3138 9500
  • Int. phone: +61 7 3138 9500
  • Fax: +61 7 3138 4438
  • Level 6, P Block
    Gardens Point
    2 George St
    Brisbane QLD 4000
  • Postal address:
    Institute for Future Environments
    GPO Box 2434
    Brisbane QLD 4001