CityU wins international awards in invention

Edith Ng

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The innovative technology of researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has earned two gold medals and a bronze medal at the “35th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products” in Geneva, Switzerland that took place from 18 to 22 April.


CityU is participating in the event for the first time and the medals emphasize that the quality of the applied research produced at CityU is recognized internationally.


The International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products, the biggest fair to be devoted exclusively to inventions, falls under the patronage of the Swiss Federal Government, the State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, and the Administration Council of the City of Geneva. It features about 1,000 inventions by more than 700 exhibitors from 45 countries, attracting a total of 75,000 visitors worldwide. An international jury selected the winning inventions.


The award-winning CityU projects are Fish Bioassay for Drug Screening and Environmental Toxicity Testing (Principal Investigator: Dr Cheng Shuk-han, Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Chemistry) and Smart Ambience Therapy (SAT) (Principal Investigator: Professor (Chair) Horace Ip Ho-shing of the Department of Computer Science).


The research group led by Dr Cheng Shuk-han has developed a set of tools for drug screening and pollutant testing using zebra fish, the outcomes of which are useful for drug R&D and pollutant testing.


Zebra fish is an important model for studying the development of embryos and human diseases. This is because zebra fish embryos exhibit similar responses as mammalian models to pollutants and drugs for cardiovascular diseases, anti-angiogenesis and anti-cancer. Scientists use the fish as a bridge between the in vitro model and the in vivo model to save cost and time. So far component and safety checks have been performed for over 100 Chinese herbs.


Dr Cheng said that she would like to share the honour of the award with the community, the University and her colleagues, as all of them are in partnerships for a better tomorrow.


“Also I must express my heartfelt thanks to CityU and my colleagues, without the unfailing support of the University, the effort of our staff, the Fish Bioassay project would not have got to where we are,” she said.


The innovative SAT technology developed by Professor (Chair) Horace Ip combines CityU Body Brush interactive media technology with traditional art therapy to create a new tool in psychotherapy.


The Body Brush technology is a real-time body-driven system. Its computer motion analysis system uses infrared illumination and innovative graphic-rendering software that can translate body motion into 3D paintings. The technology offers participants new ways for making and sharing art in a virtual world. With the carefully designed interactive games and activities, SAT provides a new medium for expressing feelings. It is a unique process for accessing the internal world through kinesthetic movement, and it is a communication and emotional outlet for people recovering from physical and emotional abuse.


Professor Ip is pleased to receive the gold medal as it honours the technology and people serving under-privileged children in our society. “SAT also demonstrates that applied research and development that create significant impact are most likely coming from inter-disciplinary collaborations. Therefore, the honour of the award goes also to our collaborators from the Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists,” he said.


He hopes that there will be mobile centres of SAT traveling across the territory in future so that children with a history of abuse will gain easy access to this technology.


In addition, a bronze medal was awarded to the Universal Wireless Charging Platform, a design developed by Professor (Chair) Ron Hui Shu-yuen of the Department of Electronic Engineering.


This breakthrough technology does not require conventional wired-connectors and charging is hassle-free. Consumers who carry with them different electronic devices during the day will find this charging platform highly practical. This wireless invention will bring about a new generation of water-proof electronic devices because the design of power ports may become obsolete in the future.



Mr Wong Hon-yee, Director of the Technology Transfer Office, CityU’s technology marketing arm, said that the awards were an extra bonus after the Geneva mission.


“Our purpose was to showcase our excellent products in applied research to potential international buyers and sealing partnerships with corporations worldwide,” he said.


“As business activity now becomes increasingly more global, active participations in international fairs will help CityU profile its applied research and strengthen the partnership network,” he added. In addition, CityU recently presented its projects at the Information and Communications (ICT) Expo 2007 which was held in Hong Kong from 14 to 17 April.



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