MEEM student shines in technology and environmental protection competition

Karen Lai

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A final-year student from the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management (MEEM) clinched the top prize in the university category and the final championship at the “Technology, Environmental Protection and Innovation Competition” this month.

Justin Chan Yiu-ting triumphed with his innovative underwater sampling vehicle which uses a semi-permeable membrane device to detect poisonous substances in sea water. The vehicle is made of aluminium and plastic composite panels, with a laptop installed inside. The vehicle, propelled by four thrusters and remote controlled, can carry out underwater inspections and collect samples of water.

Majoring in mechatronic engineering, Justin loves robots and is a keen participant in robot competitions. “Technology relates to our everyday life,” Justin said. “In addition to gaining experience in competition, I hope to apply my academic knowledge to enhance research on marine environmental protection and to raise public awareness.”

After reading about the poor quality of sea water around Hong Kong and frequent reports concerning food poisoning, Justin came up with the idea for his award-winning project. He said he hopes his ideas can help scientists analyze pollution in the ocean and the impact on marine life.

Justin thanked his supervisors—Dr Luk Bing-lam and Dr Louis Liu King-pui, respectively a senior engineer and an instructor in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management—for their advice on the project. Under their supervision, Justin learned that his seniors had worked on a project involving a remote operated vehicle (ROV) which was developed by previous MEEM students under the guidance of Professor Tso Shiu-kit in MEEM and Dr Robin Bradbeer, Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering.

Using this project as the foundation for his work, Justin added new programming and a fresh mechanical design, expanding the capabilities of the vehicle from underwater inspection to water sampling. Justin also suggested the innovative application of the semi-permeable membrane device.

“We encourage our students to participate in contests of this kind,” Dr Liu said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to relate their knowledge to daily life and to gain more experiences in competition.”

Dr Luk said that the project exemplified outcome-based teaching and learning and that the award was a great boost to Justin’s hard work. His achievement was a very good example of a student creating an innovate idea and applying it to a real-life situation, a process Dr Luk said he fully supported.

Dr Luk added that Justin should develop his vehicle further. That opportunity is close at hand because he is on an internship with a technology company under the Co-operative Education Scheme in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and, under the guidance of Dr Luk and Dr Liu, he is working on a robot project for detecting leaks in gas pipe. He plans to work as research assistant in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management after graduation, pursuing interests that include robotics, tribology and materials engineering.

The “Technology, Environmental Protection and Innovation Competition” was open to primary school, secondary school and university students. The objective was to encourage young people to develop innovative ideas in science and technology to improve the quality of life. The final competition was held at Metro City, Tseung Kwan O on 13 August.

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