27 Oct 2018
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) officially launched the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub (the Project) today to support the elderly to enjoy “Smart Age・Smart Life”. Being a nominated project under the Chief Executive’s Community List, the Project receives the generous support of HK$47.95 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The five-year project aims to promote the application of gerontechnology for enhancing the quality of life of the elderly.
The opening ceremony was officiated by The Honorable Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration, Hong Kong SAR Government; Dr Rosanna Wong, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; and Professor Timothy W. Tong, President, PolyU.
PolyU also invited academics, experts and industry leaders for elderly service from Hong Kong and around the world to attend a symposium held immediately after the opening ceremony of the Project to discuss about leveraging innovative technology to cope with the severe challenges arising from an ageing population. At the symposium, experts from the United States, Canada, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong introduced the development of smart living in their countries or regions and shared different approaches in applying technology for building an inclusive community that can cope with the diverse needs of the elderly.
Addressing the ceremony, Professor Tong said, “PolyU has always been striving to respond to the needs of the society. We have been working on projects and smart technologies for decades, with an extensive expertise in assistive technologies for rehabilitation, to support Hong Kong to be a Smart City for elderly citizens. The Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub, operated by the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) of PolyU, will capitalise on the University’s professional knowledge in wide spectrum including medical technology, rehabilitation, nursing, etc. to facilitate sectoral collaborations and to promote gerontechnology products and services for enhancing the living quality of the elderly. However, it needs more than research efforts to make the Project successful. We are honoured to collaborate with a number of organisations in elderly care. On behalf of PolyU, I would like to thank all of our collaborating partners for their support.”
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Rosanna Wong said she was pleased to see the co-operation between the Club’s Charities Trust and PolyU in launching the project, which would enhance the quality of life of the elderly by actively promoting the application of gerontechnology, as well as fostering sharing and exchange, and supporting the quality design of tailor-made technology products for seniors. “The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has been actively supporting and initiating a number of pilot projects for the elderly with an aim to build Hong Kong into an age-friendly city,” she said. “Our vision is to promote active ageing by encouraging elderly citizens to live a healthier lifestyle, thus prolonging their active life and making their elderly years more fulfilling.”
The Project strives to build an inter-disciplinary network that supports smart ageing initiatives. Through showcasing cutting-edge gerontechnologies and related products from around the world, the Project aims to raise public awareness about the benefits of applying innovative technology in elderly services. The Project will also serve as a platform to facilitate stakeholders such as academics, healthcare professionals, elderly care service providers, technology developers, and caregivers for the elderly, etc. to develop innovative and quality technology products that best fit for the elderly.
The Project will help advance PolyU’s endeavour in nurturing our next generations to innovate technologies and solutions that can cope with the rapidly changing needs of an ageing population. PolyU students, especially BME students, can test their innovative ideas for elderly care through this Project and participate in the Project’s service-learning to gain experience of serving the elderly and understand their needs.
Day Experience Centre on PolyU campus
PolyU has set up the “Day Experience Centre” on the campus for this Project to showcase gerontechnology products and demonstrate their features in enhancing the elderly’s quality of life. The 10 categories of products on display cover different aspects of the elderly’s life: dress and groom, kitchen and dining, home and living, mobility, personal hygiene, safety device, health management, etc. The Centre has also built a model smart home for elderly, which was modelled on the exact scale of a typical housing unit and equipped with gerontechnology devices in its living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. (For details of the Resource Library, please visit https://www.polyu.edu.hk/Ageing/en/reslibrary.php)
Innovative technologies for elderly healthcare pioneered by the BME of PolyU will also be showcased in the Centre. A typical example is the eNightLog system, which is an effective device to monitor the elderly who have dementia symptoms. Others include iHome, iWheelchair, iBalanx, Rehab Sleeve, etc. which are designed for enhancing safety, mobility, and rehabilitation for the elderly at their home.
The Centre will be open to the public for exploration activities, workshops or guided tours. It will also serve as an experiment field for students of various disciplines who take the course of “Technologies for Smart Ageing” offered by BME to test their technological solutions.
Real-life Hostels in collaboration with community partners
PolyU will also collaborate with six non-governmental organisations including Fu Hong Society, Haven of Hope Christian Service, Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing and Yan Chai Hospital, etc. to set up “Real-life Hostels”. The BME team will provide smart assistive devices that match the environment and needs of the nursing homes designated by the participating organisations. One of the smart devices to be installed in these nursing homes is the eNightLog system, which can help enhance the work efficiency of the frontline caregivers and the safety of the elderly residents. Elderly care service providers from other organsiations are welcome to visit these “Real-life Hostels” to understand the practical uses of gerontechnology. Through these visits, PolyU wishes to encourage the industry to widely apply innovative technologies in elderly care services.
These Hostels will also become service bases for students who take the BME course “Assistive Technologies: Service Learning towards the Elderly and Disabled”. PolyU students studying different majors can learn through providing inter-disciplinary services for the needy.
Guests officiate the opening ceremony of the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub: Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung (middle), Chief Secretary for Administration; Dr Rosanna Wong (2nd from left), Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Professor Timothy W. Tong (2nd from right), President of PolyU; Professor John Chai Yat-chiu (1st from left), Chairman of Departmental Advisory Committee and Honorary Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), PolyU; Ir Professor Zheng Yongping (1st from right), Head of BME and Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering
Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung (2nd from left), Chief Secretary for Administration; Dr Rosanna Wong (5th from left), Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; and Professor Timothy W. Tong (4th from left), President of PolyU, join other guests in a tour of the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub. In front of the iWheelchair developed by PolyU, they have a joyful discussion on the development of gerontechnology.
The Day Experience Centre of the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub showcases a great variety of gerontechnology products.