The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has brought glory to Hong Kong by winning three Global Innovation Awards at the TechConnect World Conference and Expo 2017 (TechConnect World). It is the first time for a Hong Kong higher education institution to receive the award. PolyU is also the only awardee from Hong Kong.
The annual TechConnect World held in the US aims for supporting the development and commercialization of innovations. For years, it has been providing an international platform for research laboratories and universities to exchange and collaborate with the industry sector, and has become the largest multi-sector signature event of its kind in the world. This year, the event gathers more than 4,000 technology innovators, ventures, industrial partners and investors from over 70 countries.
TechConnect World only grants awards to the top 20% of innovations submitted, with assessment based on the potential positive impact the submitted technology will have on a specific industry sector. This year, 26 global awards are presented to non-US-federal-funded innovations across the world. Another 60 national awards are granted to innovations with US federal funding. The awardees include a number of global-renowned research institutes, such as NASA, US Department of Energy, National Labs, Berkeley National Lab, Princeton Lab, UCLA, Georgia Tech, University of Melbourne, etc.
For details of TechConnect World, please visit its official website:
The three winning innovations of PolyU are (please refer to Annex for project brief):-
Dr Terence LAU, Director of Innovation and Technology Development of PolyU, said the University has been putting great efforts in developing high-impact research for coping with the changing and unmet needs of the society. "We aim at applying our research findings, through knowledge transfer, to make the world a better place for mankind and to benefit our society. The TechConnect Innovation Awards are certainly a recognition for our research efforts and achievements, and serve as a shot in the arm for our research faculty members."
PolyU researchers exchange on product development in international arena
The PolyU delegation received the awards at the TechConnect World event held in Washington, D.C. from 15 to 17 May. They also showcased 11 innovation projects at the PolyU booth at the expo. Besides attending various exchange sessions with members from the industry, government and academia sectors around the world, PolyU delegates also explored product development and cooperation opportunities with executives from Fortune Listed top multinational corporations, including Eastman, Henkel, Ingersoll Rand, Saint Gobain, etc.
The "multi-functional nano-coating for glass" project conducted by Dr Lin LU has received keen responses from renowned multinational companies which indicated intention for collaborating with PolyU in further research and project development. In their meeting with PolyU delegates, many corporation leaders indicated that collaborating with institutions that develop cutting-edge technologies is an integral part of their innovation strategy. They believed that combining PolyU's unique technologies with corporations' global market access would help generate mutual benefits in the future.
The Three PolyU Projects with 2017 TechConnect Global Innovation Awards
Multi-functional Nano-coating for Glass Self-cleaning, Heat-insulation, Energy-saving
— Dr Lin LU, Associate Professor, Department of Building Services Engineering
With large amount of outdoor near-infrared light transmitting through windows, drawing indoor temperature rise, many buildings in Hong Kong suffer from high-cost air-conditioning. In recent years, there were also repeated fatal accidents arising from cleaning windows in high-rises. The novel multi-functional transparent nano-coating for glass developed by PolyU researchers can help address the two problems at the same time. The super-hydrophilic self-cleaning coating has thermal insulation and photocatalysis properties. Besides blocking over 90% of near-infrared light and 99% ultra-violet light, the coating can also break down organic pollutants.
The highly cost-efficient coating can be widely used in building glass curtains (including shopping malls, offices), smart homes, aircrafts, etc. It is developed mainly with nanoscale TiO2 and Cesium Tungsten Bronze mixture particles. The two materials are synthesized respectively by low-cost hydrothermal method and high-temperature calcination technique.
Bio-inspired Anti-vibration Structures Enhancing Health Protection for Workers
— Dr JING Xingjian, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Inspired by the limb structures of birds and insects in motion vibration control, the novel nonlinear X-shaped anti-vibration system developed by PolyU researchers has three unique advantages: nearly "zero response" to any vibration; high loading capacity; automatic high damping for strong vibration, yet low damping for small vibration. The technology can significantly reduce vibration in various engineering practices. It can thus be widely applied in railways, vehicles, marine and aeronautic engineering, mechanic and precise machines, robotics, and various civil structures like bridges, buildings, etc. The innovation has obtained patents of Mainland China, Hong Kong and the US.
The research team has applied the technology in developing an assistive anti-vibration exoskeleton for hand-held drilling devices. The low-cost exoskeleton can significantly suppress vibration, and can therefore markedly help prevent hand-arm occupation diseases among construction workers.
Personalised Thermal-Comfort Platform for Green Smart Living
— Dr WANG Dan, Associate Professor, Department of Computing
Offices with centralised air-conditioning are often being complained of having temperature set too low, leading to energy wastage, and adversely affecting the comfort, work efficiency and even health of the occupants.
The novel scalable personalized thermal-comfort platform developed by PolyU researchers can automatically adjust the temperature to a level comfortable for occupants (individuals or groups) based on estimations deprived from their daily operations. The model can help improve thermal comfort, and greatly save energy consumption and expenses.
Manager, Innovation and Technology Development Office, PolyU