CityU exhibition showcases innovative solutions to everyday problems

Mirror Fung


Have you ever been lost inside a building and could not find the nearest toilet? Do you need a device to help invalided patients recover more quickly? Do you worry that an elderly relative might fall over when home alone?
An exhibition organised by the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) responds to such pressing questions at a display of around 90 innovative projects showcasing smart solutions developed by CityU students.
One of the items at the exhibition, which is running from 5 to 8 June, is a “Wi-Fi-based Indoor Positioning System for Smartphones” which provides real-time information about location and navigation.
Wong Ka-wai, a student from the Department of Computer Science, developed this system because he said he sometimes got lost on campus.
He said he spent more than a year developing this system, including setting up the system server, and designing a Wi-Fi signal calibration tool and an Android smartphone application.
“This system provides maps, room-level accuracy positioning service and route information and can be applied to different indoor environments, such as universities, museums and shopping malls,” Wong Ka-wai said. “What we need to do is to get the floor plans and use the calibration tool to collect Wi-Fi signals and input the data.”
Another project on display is a “Power-Assisted Gait Trainer” which facilitates the recovery of people undertaking physical therapy for lower limb injuries. It has been designed by three students from the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering: Chung Wai-ting, Mak Wah-tong and Yau Yuk-man.
The trainer is a power-assisted walking device designed according to ergonomics. The injured lower limb of the user is guided and supported by a computer-controlled thigh swing while the user is walking. “It works better than normal physical therapy because it enables gait and balance practice at the same time, and therefore can speed up recovery. In addition, the trainer can be set at slow or fast speeds,” said Chung Wai-ting. It has a user-friendly control panel and can move forwards, backwards, left and right.
The fall detection system, designed by Lam Man-tung, a student from the Department of Electronic Engineering, sends out emergency messages if a motion sensor worn on a user’s ankle detects a fall. The data is transmitted to the user’s iPhone or iPad and an emergency message is sent out.
“The user can set a phone number or an email address in the application in advance,” said Lam Man-tung. “According to the World Health Organisation, around 424,000 fatal falls occur every year, and around 28% to 38% of elders aged over 65 fall two to four times each year. I hope the system will help the elderly get help immediately after falling.”
The exhibits are projects developed by students from eight different departments in CSE, as well as from the Division of Building Science and Technology and the Co-operative Education Centre. CSE students will explain the concepts and the unique features of those projects, including live demonstrations, at the exhibition.
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