The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) was awarded three prestigious prizes at this year’s TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo (TechConnect) in Washington DC.
PolyU research teams excelled in the area of “Materials & Manufacturing” with two innovations being awarded TechConnect 2021 Global Innovation Awards. The PolyU innovators had developed a nature-inspired ‘sweatable’ textile material capable of ultra-fast sweat dissipation; as well as inventing an environmentally friendly technique to synthesizing MXenes – a promising energy storage material designed to meet rising global energy demands.
In the area of “AI, Data, Cyber & Software”, PolyU has developed 3D LiDAR-aided GNSS precise positioning technology that allows highly robust centimetre-level global positioning in urban environments for automated driving, which also received a TechConnect 2021 Global Innovation Award.
PolyU is the only higher education institution in Hong Kong this year that received the awards, which recognise the top 15% of submitted technologies based on their potential positive impact in different technological areas. Other awarded innovators include those from global-renowned universities, institutes and laboratories, including several national laboratories affiliated with the US Department of Energy. It is the fifth year that PolyU research teams have been awarded the prestigious prizes at the world's largest multi-sector event for fostering development and commercialising innovations.
Professor Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, congratulated the teams. He said: “I am delighted that PolyU’s latest innovations – from advanced manufacturing, materials and electronics micro-systems to AI, data and software technologies – have been recognised and showcased at TechConnect. Not only does this acknowledge the value of PolyU’s impactful research and the innovations that shape smart city development and tackle various environmental and public health issues, but it also paves the way for further research collaboration in the global arena.”
PolyU’s three award-winning innovations are:
1. Sweatextile: A Nature-Inspired Textile of Unidirectional Water Transport and Dissipation for Moisture Management, Comfort and Protection by Dr SHOU Dahua, Professor FAN Jintu and Dr WEI Xin, Institute of Textiles and Clothing
Going beyond the capabilities of existing wicking textiles, Sweatextile mimics the perspiration action of human skin, quickly directing and dissipating excessive sweat as water droplets on the outer surface, keeping the wearer dry, comfortable and having greater energy and endurance. In addition to enjoying fast wicking and moisture dissipation, Sweatextile protects wearers from external liquids such as rain and contaminated water. This innovation can benefit a wide range of consumers including outdoor enthusiasts and highly-active professionals.
2. HF-free facile and rapid synthesis of MXenes related materials for Efficient Energy Conversion and Storage Applications by Professor HAO Jianhua and Ms PANG Sin-Yi, Department of Applied Physics
MXenes have widespread uses in electrochemical energy storage and biological application due to their high robustness and non-toxicity. Traditional synthetic routes require the use of highly toxic hydrofluoric (HF) acid to synthesize MXenes, which raises considerable safety and environmental concerns. To overcome this problem, a HF-free electrochemical method has been developed to synthesize MXenes. The resulting MXenes exhibit stable and highly efficient energy storage and hydrogen gas synthesis capabilities, offering promising applications aiming to address the fast-approaching energy crisis and increasing energy demands.
3. 3D LiDAR Aided GNSS Precise Positioning for Level 4 Autonomous Driving by Dr HSU Li-Ta and Dr WEN Weisong, Department of Aeronautical and Aviation Engineering
The 3D LiDAR-Aided GNSS Precise Positioning technology developed by PolyU tightly couples its environmental perception capability with high-precision satellite positioning technology to achieve an intelligent self-adjusting satellite ranging measurement modeling and correction. This allows highly robust centimetre-level high-precision global positioning in urban environments to be achieved for Level 4 autonomous driving.
Besides the three award-winning innovations, a number of other PolyU inventions were also shortlisted in the TechConnect Innovation Showcase which recognises promising technologies within their respective fields.
The PolyU showcase included advanced material and manufacturing innovations, such as:
- an integrated microfluidic system that can replicate natural photosynthesis with greater energy efficiency;
- an eco-friendly smart coating material which adopts a “smart” cooling mechanism that can both enhance daytime cooling and minimize nighttime heat loss; and
- a novel antimicrobial 3D printing technology that enables new medical usage of 3D printing products to combat contact transmission of lethal microbes in public areas.
For more details of the event and the awards, please refer to the official website of TechConnect at https://www.techconnectworld.com/World2021 and the list of awardees at https://www.techconnectworld.com/World2021/participate/innovation/awards.html.
Mr Heyson Young
Assistant Manager, Research and Innovation Office
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Mr Matt Ho
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
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