2013.05.08PolyU wins top prizes in Geneva’s Invention Expo

PolyU wins top prizes in Geneva’s Invention ExpoPolyU wins top prizes in Geneva’s Invention ExpoPolyU wins top prizes in Geneva’s Invention Expo

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has won a total of 10 prizes for its multi-faceted innovations presented at the 41st International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. Not only have these breakthroughs brought glory to Hong Kong, but also extended the frontiers of knowledge and enhanced the well-being of our society on different fronts.

This year, PolyU researchers have won one Grand Prize, two Special Prizes, six Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal in the international event. The winning projects are presented at a press conference hosted by Mr Nicholas W. Yang, Executive Vice President of the University. The winning entries and their respective inventors are listed and briefly described as follows:

(1) Grand Prize and Gold Medal:
Intelligent Ship-Bridge Anti-Collision Surveillance System
Principal Investigator: Professor Ni Yiqing, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

This novel system functions as a “black box” of the bridge to provide a full record of ship activities near the bridge area and impact to the bridge structure. By incorporating Automatic Identification System (AIS) and smart vision-based monitoring technology into the security of bridge, this system can actively monitor marine traffic, evaluate the route of ship movements and send out warning signals to the ships likely to collide with the bridge. Novel piezoelectric sensor arrays are embedded in the bridge as well to build up a new method for impact force monitoring and collision damage evaluation.

This pioneering project was jointly undertaken by PolyU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Intelligent Structural Health Monitoring R&D Centre of PolyU Shenzhen Research Institute, and Zhejiang Provincial Transport Bureau. The system can be put to good use in sea-crossing and river-crossing bridge structures.

(2) Gold Medal with Jury’s Commendation:
Fast Fabric Hand Measurement Technology
Principal Investigator: Professor Li Yi, Institute of Textiles and Clothing

The development of new fabrics and hence comfortable clothing is an ongoing challenge for researchers in the field of textile science. With this in mind, PolyU researchers have successfully made use of fast bionic technology to measure and simulate hand touch sensations of “soft-stiff”, “smooth-rough” and “warm-cold”.

Fabric-skin touch sensations influence our feelings and sense of happiness in sleeping, walking, running, working, sporting and shopping. How to measure fabric tactile properties quickly is an important issue for selecting appropriate fabrics for a specific purpose in designing apparel and textile products, so that consumers can make good decisions and enjoy the products they purchased. In accordance with the neurophysiological mechanisms of human sensory perceptions,

a novel bionic instrument has been developed by PolyU researchers to simulate how fabrics stimulate human skin sensory receptors, generate signals, transmit to human brain and formulate sensations like “soft-stiff”, “smooth-rough” and “warm-cold” and final preferences.

This project is jointly undertaken by the University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing and Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA).

(3) Special Prize and Gold Medal:
Novel Flavonoid Dimers for Reversing Cancer Drug Resistance
Principal Investigators: Dr Larry M.C. Chow, Professor Tak-Hang Chan, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology

Although chemotherapy is extensively used in cancer treatment, multidrug resistance (MDR) remains a major problem. PolyU researchers have designed small molecules to reverse this process. Membrane proteins P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP) pump drugs out of cancer cells and reduce chemotherapy efficacy. Moreover, they have designed, synthesized and characterized novel diet-derived flavonoid dimers which can target P-gp and BCRP’s dimeric structure. Due to the unique design of dimeric in structure which can specifically bind to the pseudodimeric P-gp and BCRP, these flavonoid dimers can inhibit P-gp and BCRP, and reverse cancer drug resistance with very high potency (inhibiting BCRP at < 1 nM) and low toxicity (therapeutic index of 1x105).

This project is jointly undertaken by PolyU’s Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, McGill University, State Key Laboratory of Chirosciences at PolyU and Shenzhen-based State Key Laboratory for Chinese Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology.

(4) Special Prize and Gold Medal:
Online Monitoring System for High Speed Laser Spot Welding
Principal Investigator: Professor H.C. Man, Faculty of Engineering

In the area of industrial micro-joining, laser welding has probably become the most preferred process as it does not involve soldering and offers high production rate. However, there is no practical welding monitoring technology which suits the stringent requirements in mass-production line. This PolyU-developed system can monitor the welding process quality of very tiny and sophisticated electronic components. In milliseconds, it can identify the welded spots quality based on reflected infra-red signals and the cooling rate of the spots.

The invention can enhance efficiency and quality in the manufacturing of consumer electronic products such as mobile phones and medical products, in which micro-welding of metallic parts and hermetic sealing are the most critical factors. It can also be easily adapted into existing laser welding system to raise their performance standard.

(5) Gold Medal:
An Energy-Saving, Wide-Colour Gamut LED Display System
Principal Investigators: Dr K.H. Loo, Dr Y.M. Lai, Professor Michael C.K. Tse, Department of Electronic and Information Engineering

With the advancement of LED technology, nowadays LED Display Systems are often seen in outdoor settings. Both researchers and advertisers are looking for novel methods to cut down the consumption of energy and enhance the quality of image at the same time.

The proposed system employs a low-cost method for implementing the multi-level Pulse-Width-Modulated (PWM) driving technology on wide-area outdoor LED display panel. The multi-level PWM driving technology gives rise to a two-dimensional dimming of each LED pixel and results in a colour gamut that is much wider than the existing commercial systems. Because of the physical characteristics of LEDs, this driving technology also offers the additional advantage of higher energy efficiency than the conventionally driven systems. Moreover, the implementation of this technology only brings a very small increase in the hardware cost, making it commercially viable for the market.

(6) Gold Medal:
Imaging Colour Measurement System based on Multispectral Imaging Technology
Principal Investigator: Professor John Xin, Institute of Textiles and Clothing

This Imaging Colour Measurement (ICM) system is the world’s first measurement instrument capable of measuring spectral reflectance over the visible spectrum in the range of 400 to 700 nanometres, with a very high accuracy up to 0.0024 in terms of root-mean-square spectral error. It measures colours of multi-colour samples ranging from printing fabrics, yarn-dyed fabrics, laces, yarns, threads, to coloured plastics, cosmetics, as well as automotive parts. Moreover, the colour measurement capability of ICM system can be further extended to any multi-coloured, irregular shaped, extremely small 3-dimensional objects.

This PolyU-developed ICM system has completely overcome the limitation of measuring any multi-colour sample by a spectrophotometre which is currently the only type of accurate spectral colour measurement device available in the market.

This project is jointly undertaken by the University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing and Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA).

(7) Bronze Medal:
Smart Garment with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Microcapsules for Treating Atopic Dermatitis
Principal Investigators: Dr Patrick C.K. Hui, Dr Frency Ng, Institute of Textiles and Clothing

It is commonly known that Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (TCHM) can be directly applied to the skin for clinical treatment by Chinese bone-setters and TCM practitioners. However, this old-fashioned method may make patients uncomfortable and the release of TCHM could not be controlled for effective treatment. Thus, a new method is developed to prepare Chitosan/Sodium Alginate microcapsule encapsulated with TCHM for effective clinical treatment without toxicity effect, and with the ability of controlled-release over time. The TCHM microcapsules are grafted on special textile materials to develop smart garment for more convenient and effective curing of patients with atopic dermatitis.

Under the patronage of the Swiss Federal Government, of the State, the City of Geneva and of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the 41st International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva was held from 10 to 14 April 2013. For more details about the International Exhibition, please refer to its official website at URL: www.inventions-geneva.ch


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