Inauguration of the PolyU Research Centre for Assistive Technology to foster research collaboration with local and international partners
24 Nov 2023
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has inaugurated the Research Centre for Assistive Technology (RCATech) to support people with disabilities and the elderly in the field of assistive devices design and technology, as well as rehabilitation research and development, with the aim of creating an inclusive and accessible society. In addition, RCATech has entered into collaborative agreements with international research institutes and local industry partners in pursuit of its mission.
As the first research centre for assistive technology among Hong Kong educational institutions, RCATech has partnered with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international educational institutions to advance multidisciplinary research and promote technology transformation for the benefit of industry and society more broadly.
In Hong Kong, RCATech collaborates with five local NGOs: The Hong Kong Society for the Aged, Innovation Hub, Elderly Resources Centre of Hong Kong Housing Society, Hong Kong PHAB Association, SAHK and Association for Engineering and Medical Volunteer Services. Additionally, it partners with two international research centres, namely the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence at the University of Toronto, in Canada and the Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore (RRIS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. It is also honoured to have Prof. Frank CHAN Fan, the former Secretary for Transport and Housing of the HKSAR government and the current Hong Kong’s Deputy to the National People’s Congress, as Honorary Advisor. RCATech directly engages with rehabilitation and healthcare professionals, engineers and designers to optimise research applications and generate impactful outcomes.
The inauguration ceremony was held at PolyU campus on 20 November. During the ceremony, collaborative agreements were signed with international educational institutions and industry partners to strengthen RCATech's research platform and assistive technology development.
Witnessed by Prof. Zuankai WANG, Associate Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU and Prof. David SHUM, Dean of Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (FHSS), and Ms Milie NG, Senior Project Manager, Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore (RRIS) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the Master Research Collaboration Agreement was signed by Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation), PolyU and Prof. Wei Tech ANG, Executive Director, RRIS, NTU.
RCATech and RRIS at NTU signed an agreement for master research collaboration and project cooperation to advance rehabilitation research. One notable example is a feasibility study for the development of a normative ability database for individuals of Asian ethnicity with movement disorders and their healthy counterparts.
Prof. Zuankai Wang said in the welcoming remarks, “RCATech and our partners share a strong desire to pursue collaborative research and development activities in rehabilitation. The inauguration of RCATech signifies a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts among academics, industry and professionals working on assistive technology to foster an inclusive and accessible society.”
Prof. Wei Tech Ang said, “RRIS’ and RCATech’s joint efforts, exemplified by projects such as establishing the ability movement database, underscore our commitment to harnessing the latest technologies and patient data to enhance the lives of those in need. As we embark on this journey together, I am confident that RCATech, with its multidisciplinary approach and international co-operations, will continue to be a beacon in the pursuit of excellence in assistive technology, fostering inclusivity and accessibility for all.”
Additionally, PolyU Faculty of Health and Social Sciences has formed a partnership with HKT to provide support to the research projects conducted by FHSS academics, researchers and students on the PolyU campus leveraging HKT’s 5G network coverage and services. The cooperation also includes collaborative research activities aimed at benefiting the healthcare industry.
Prof. David Shum said, “PolyU distinguishes itself by being the first university in Hong Kong to establish a dedicated research centre for assistive technology. This distinction arises from the University’s unique combination of disciplines – rehabilitation, health sciences, design, environmental studies and engineering – working alongside the PolyU Industrial Centre. Together, we will strive to develop cutting-edge devices, systems and research projects that will not only lead the field in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region, but also have a positive impact on society.”
Prof. Frank CHAN Fan, Honorary Advisor of RCATech, said, “Assistive Technology is now recognised as a life changer. With the establishment of the Research Centre for Assistive Technology, PolyU is poised to become the epicentre in the search for excellence in rehabilitation sciences and assistive technology My warmest congratulations to all those who have made it happen and make a difference, and thank you for everything you have done.”
RCATech leverages PolyU’s research excellence and academic heritage in the rehabilitation, health sciences, design, environmental and engineering disciples to develop fundamental technologies and intelligent applications. The Centre comprises researchers from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, School of Design, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Construction and Environment, Industrial Centre and Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation.
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