New Inventors' top prize for MAPrc team

A new diagnostic tool for detecting mental illnesses and other neurological conditions, being developed at MAPrc, has taken out first place honours on ABC’s The New Inventors.

The innovative diagnostic device, invented by Monash University engineer Brian Lithgow in research collaboration with MAPrc Director Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, was unanimously voted the year's best invention in the grand final of the popular ABC program.

Called ‘EVestG’™ (short for electrovestibulography) by  commercial partner Neural Diagnostics Pty Ltd (the exclusive worldwide licensee from Monash University of the technology), the tool measures patterns of electrical activity in the brain’s vestibular (or balance) system against distinct response patterns found in disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

Ongoing research conducted at MAPrc by Lithgow in collaboration with Professor Kulkarni has found distinct response patterns that distinguish different diseases from each other and from regular electrovestibular activity.

"The patient sits in a specially-designed tilt chair that triggers electrical responses in their balance system. A gel-tipped electrode placed in the ear canal silences interfering noise so that meaningful electrical activity can be captured and compared to biomarkers indicative of particular disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder," Adjunct Professor Lithgow said.

The nation’s top new inventors said they were thrilled with the award.

“We are delighted, of course. And I think the fact that this innovation has really captured the imaginations of audiences and judges alike shows just how fruitful collaboration between researchers from otherwise disparate disciplines can be,” Professor Kulkarni said.

“I hope this award encourages more exchange and ‘outside-the-square’ collaborations between researchers from all different fields.”

For more information about EVestG, or to be study participant in ongoing research into the EVestG, please call Lara Hunt on 03 9076 6907 or email

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