Necessity may be the mother of invention, but no vision will realise its full potential without funding. So when two Australian National University (ANU) researchers, Dr Kirk McKenzie and Dr Andrew Wade, found themselves locked out of their labs during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to find a quick solution to maintaining their work.

The two researchers from ANU’s Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics had set up a long-running measurement to track the stability of an optical frequency reference against time. Data continuity was vital, and the logs from various instruments needed to be collected, maintained and accessed from offsite. Time was critical, and although the twosome had the skills to get the legacy instruments working, it would just take too long.

Necessity meets a Solution

A solution was available, but there needed to be modifications and a quick turnaround. The answer was the third product from ANU’s technology start-up Liquid Instruments, MOKU:PRO and their Data Logger software.

Liquid Instruments recently raised $13.7 Million to fuel global expansion into education and industrial markets. This latest capital raise was aimed at accelerating the international adoption of MOKU:GO, a new portable engineering lab solution created to support remote education in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Liquid Instruments had already made strides in tertiary education via their high-end MOKU:PRO and MOKU:LAB but wanted to transition to portable software-defined instrumentation.

Professor Daniel Shaddock, Liquid Instruments CEO

Professor Daniel Shaddock is the founder of Liquid Instruments and will launch the MOKU:GO today in Canberra. Shaddock set the stage for the launch by saying, “We wanted to make equipment or a product that is called test and measurement. It sounds boring but the technology is really cool because it allows scientists and engineers to build other technology.”

What the Liquid Instruments team has come up with is akin to a Swiss Army pocket knife for engineers and researchers. MOKU:GO is aimed at democratising data collation and coordination. MOKU wants to disrupt the vast research labs of universities and industries. The aim will be to let the software do the heavy lifting.

MOKU:GO will be the first step on the ladder for engineers into the Liquid Instruments eco-system. MOKU:GO is already shipping to hundreds of universities, primarily in the US, China and India.

And what happened to McKenzie and Wade at ANU?

A beta update to the iPad app had been implemented within a few days that allowed Wade to set an arbitrary log time, data logging through the Lock-In Amplifier. This update was performed entirely in the firmware, with no modification to any hardware, and effectively addressed their need to collect a continuous month-long data segment through the Lock-In Amplifier.

So instead of 240 hours of measurement time, they now had 33 days of uninterrupted data collection.

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