CityU promotes creative technology through the Synergistic Innovation

Zoey Tsang

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Five creative scientific projects by students in the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have been selected to proceed to Stage 2 of the Faculty’s Synergistic Innovation Scheme. The students’ outstanding work has won approval from local industrialists and academics in the Faculty. One of the projects, a user-friendly Flash-based web builder FLABER, will be competing for the Adobe Max Award 2006 in Las Vegas, US, this October.

In the scheme, which was launched in 2005-2006, students investigate creative scientific ideas that can be applied to real-world situations. With only limited guidance from the Faculty, they need to work independently to solve problems as they arise. The panel of judges, which includes local industrialists and academics from the Faculty, then decides which projects should proceed to Stage 2.

Throughout the scheme, CityU creates opportunities for students to enhance their creativity and knowledge and to develop teamwork skills as they turn their ideas into applicable technology.

“FSE provides students with professional teaching and opportunities for activities outside class,” said Professor Henry Chung Shu-hung, Associate Dean of the Faculty. “With CityU’s motto ‘Officium et Civitas’ as the mission of the scheme, participants have to work with students from other departments to synergize creativity and knowledge.”

Out of the 10 projects on the scheme, five were selected for Stage 2. Each will receive a maximum of $50,000 research fund and will be under the mentorship of a local industrialist.

One of the mentors, Dr Measure Hung Kim-fung, Chairman of Mobicon Groups Limited and head of the panel of judges, said he hoped the scheme would bring more creativity to local industry and would help nurture technology. Dr Hung said participants could obtain more market information from their mentors and refine their research according to the real-world environment.

The five successful projects admitted to Stage 2 are a stereo-video capturing and displaying system; an i-Envelope Email System designed to prevent spam; FLABER, which allows people with limited webpage building skills to create their own websites; an intelligent rescue system; and a bus-tracking system. Participants from these teams have overcome various challenges to reach Stage 2. Cheung Wing-cheung, working on the stereo-video project, said at first the quality of the images generated in his team’s project was unsatisfactory and they had to conduct extra trials to make improvements.

Lee Wai-shan, working on the bus-tracking system, said she was unfamiliar with the Global Positioning System (GPS) when she first started on her team’s project, but she became so interested in GPS that she decided to learn the technology from scratch.

The projects that reached Stage 2 have already attained a very high quality. For example, FLABER, designed by Vicker Leung Chi-yiu, won three major awards at the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region University Information Technology Project Competition earlier this year. Vicker will help further develop FLABER in his mentoring capacity. He graduated from CityU last year, and two students have taken up his project.

Stage 2 participants have the chance to enter Stage 3, the final stage, and the best project overall will receive an Outstanding Project Award. Participants will hold all the intellectual property rights arising from their projects.

FSE will be recruiting new participants for Stage 1 in November this year.

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