Wang Yufan, Founder of AI Motion
As both a tech expert in sensing communications technology and a volleyball devotee, Dr Wang Yufan founded AI Motion Sports Limited (AI Motion) in 2018 after graduating from the PhD programme in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at CityU. AI Motion used the Microelectromechanical (MEMS) sensing and motion capture technology developed by the CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences)-City U Joint Laboratory on Robotic Research to create a “Youth Sports Education and Management SaaS platform”, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analysis.
The system integrates wearable motion sensors, wireless data acquisition technology, cloud-based AI algorithms and machine learning to monitor, record and analyse students’ sports and health data, providing detailed real-time reports for schools (kindergartens, primary and secondary schools), teachers, coaches, parents and students. The ultimate goal is to improve efficiency in sports education and management through digitalisation.
AI Motion received initial financial support from CityU’s SEEDS Fund, ITC’s TSSSU funding and HKSTP’s Incu-Tech programme, and solicited further investment from SOSV, Entrepreneur First, and various mainland Chinese investors. With the support of a co-investment fund set up by the Shenzhen Angel FOF and Guohong Jiaxin Capital to support Hong Kong and Macao youth entrepreneurship in the Greater Bay Area, AI Motion raised millions of yuan in angel round financing.
Powered by AI and IoT, the AI Motion-developed “Youth Sports Education and Management SaaS platform” won the Gold Medal at the virtual edition of International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva 2021. Professor Way Kuo, CityU President (eighth from left); Professor Michael Yang Mengsu, Vice President (Research and Technology) (ninth from left); and the CityU winners attended a special reception, officiated by Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Professor Li Wen Jung (second from right), Wang Yufan's PhD supervisor, attended the ceremony on his behalf.
The start-up holds more than 30 patents and computer software copyrights. AI Motion’s SaaS platform recently won a Gold Medal at the Inventions Geneva Evaluation Days (IGED) 2021, a virtual edition of the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. Its core machine-learning algorithm was rated among the “Top Ten Science and Innovation Projects” at the 2018 Great Bay Area Conference on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. AI Motion was also awarded the “Most Promising Technology Enterprise” in the 21st China Hi-Tech Fair of 2019.
Al Motion has 18 employees. In addition to the laboratory in Hong Kong Science Park, the start-up has operations in Shenzhen. In 2020, it expanded its business to Chengdu, Sichuan province, and established the “Joint Laboratory of Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence in Education Informatization” with the CityU Chengdu Research Institute. The laboratory is headed by Wang Yufan.
During his PhD studies, Wang Yufan specialised in research on wearable devices, AI, motion capture, and recognition technology, powered by MEMS sensors. Al Motion represents the application of his research results into practical products that provide valuable health data and improve sports performance.
Dr Wang was an experienced volleyball player and played on champion teams in the China University Volleyball Association league and the competitions held by the University Sports Federation of Hong Kong, providing excellent preparation for building his tech firm after years of sports training. “There are common traits shared by sportsmen and entrepreneurs – good communication, great capacity for learning, perseverance and optimism,” he said. He added that he believes the HK Tech 300 programme is a good platform to prepare CityU students and other young people for the various challenges along their entrepreneurship journey.
Just as when he is on the volleyball court, the veteran spiker keeps his eyes fixed on his goal and stands ready to strike. After repeatedly facing wins and losses in various matches, he says he sees entrepreneurship as a journey of personal growth. “I may not be sure if I can build a successful business in the end, but I put myself into it wholeheartedly and enjoy the process of learning.”
The products designed by AI Motion specialise in analysing sports and health data to provide detailed real-time reports for schools, teachers, coaches, parents and students.