Impactful research projects

At PolyU, we have a long-established innovative research culture. Our innovations are meant to meet the practical needs of our community, our country and our world.

Safety monitoring of high speed rail

PolyU has established an interdisciplinary research team to study the use of optical fibre and ultrasonic wave sensing technologies for monitoring the structural health and safety of the nation's fast-expanding high-speed rail. They have been applied in several high speed rail projects, including the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Rail.

Another boost for railway system monitoring has been provided by the large-scale optical fibre sensing networks developed by PolyU's Department of Electrical Engineering. The networks employ hundreds of fibre sensors to measure a wide range of parameters, such as temperature, strain, acceleration, pressure and magnetic field.

PolyU is set to extend its contributions to China's High-Speed Rail project with the formation of a strategic partnership with Southwest Jiaotong University Railway Development Co. Ltd. This brings together the expertise of both institutions for long-term collaboration in national rail projects.

Aviation Services Research Centre, Boeing

With the support of local partners, PolyU and The Boeing Company have established Hong Kong’s first Aviation Services Research Centre, deepening the University’s commitment to the rapidly growing aviation industry. The Centre helps to train personnel, implement new procedures and develop innovative technologies to improve the safety, efficiency and capacity of the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry. It will further enhance Hong Kong's leading position as a world-class service provider of MRO and steer the development of aviation related industries in Hong Kong and the South China region.

Defocus Incorporated Soft (Contact) (DISC) Lens

The results of clinical control trial by PolyU, the first of its kind in the world, have shown that the DISC lens effectively slowed down myopia progression by 50%.This new technology has already been patented in Australia, the Chinese mainland, the US and various European countries.


The PolyU-developed eco- blocks are made of recycled waste glass derived from beverage containers and construction and demolition waste instead of sand and stone. These environmentally-friendly building blocks have been widely used in government buildings, schools, housing estates, recreational playgrounds and eco-parks.

Electric vehicle

PolyU technologies have contributed to the development of mycar, the first home-grown electric vehicle.

PolyU will be collaborating with Pok Oi Hospital to develop new electrical vehicles for use as mobile Chinese medicine clinics.

PolyU has also been commissioned by China Light & Power to study technical details of the design of electric car charging facilities in Hong Kong.

Electronic “bat ears” for the visually impaired

The project combines human and animal studies to investigate where and how cross-modal learning takes place. Such learning involves transformation of auditory signals which embed spatial information from the environment to visuo-spatial information for navigation in space. The knowledge acquired can also serve as a theoretical model for assisting subjects to regain sensory functions after a stroke or brain injuries.

Food safety and technology research

PolyU’s Food Safety and Technology Research Centre has been working with local and mainland government agencies (particularly those in the Pearl River Delta Region), local and international organizations in food testing, quality control of food supplies, and developing functional food products and drugs from traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.

Green building technology

PolyU researchers are involved in the development of green building technology, with a view to enhancing the sustainability of our environment.

Hand of Hope

The “Hand of Hope”, a breakthrough robotic technology jointly developed by PolyU and its licensee Rehab-Robotics Company Limited, enables stroke patients to move their paralyzed hands at will.

Hierarchical positioning system

PolyU researchers have designed and developed a Hierarchical Positioning System which can enhance the efficiency of terminal operations. Their invention has been piloted in a container terminal adopting a wireless sensor technology and a differential global positioning system to collect real-time data, which helps support the real-time tracking of the activities of trucks, quay cranes and so on.

Intelligent ship-bridge anti-collision surveillance system

This 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 and smart vision-based monitoring technology into the security of bridge, this system can send out warning signals to the ships likely to collide with the bridge, and evaluate damage if collision unavoidably occurs.

This 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.

Life-cycle health monitoring of massive infrastructure

PolyU is recognized as an international leader in the area of "structural health monitoring" for mammoth infrastructures. Our researchers have handled such projects as the Sutong Bridge crossing the Yangtze River and the 610-metre tall Canton Tower.

The monitoring work is supported by a PolyU-developed comprehensive and prognostic system which provides a life-cycle screening for the safety of mega-structures. The system can identify at the earliest stage the structural damage accumulated over time and assess structural health immediately after major hazardous events.

Micro-injection moulding machine

PolyU researchers have developed the world's first bottom-up high-precision plastic micro-injection moulding machine which is capable of making miniature parts as light as 0.01 gram. The breakthrough gave rise to the formation of a joint venture between PolyU and L.K. Machinery Company Ltd to launch the device.

Multi-potent drug against cancer

PolyU researchers have developed a new drug, BCT-100, which works on the mechanism of starving cancer cells through depletion of arginine - a key nutrient for many cancer cells.This novel drug could provide a cure not just for liver cancer, but also for other deadly cancer diseases. In the laboratory settings, the drug has been proved to work in cell culture for breast cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and gastric cancer. It became Hong Kong’s first “Investigational New Drug” granted by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2012.

Patent application has also been filed for BCA-PEG20, another potential anti-cancer agent, in US and other countries.

Nano-particles for purifying dirty water

PolyU researchers have developed tiny polymer particles that can clean waste water at nano level. The technology won the University and its business partner on the project, DunwellEnviro-Tech, the Technology Achievement Grand Award of 2008, an award among the Hong Kong Awards for Industries.

Nu-Torque singles yarn technology

The breakthrough Nu-torque singles yarn technology brings benefits to the global textile industry. The technology is capable of producing yarns with good quality, low twist and high strength, improving textile quality and saving energy during yarn production.

Organic photovoltaics and LEDs

Lighting accounts for approximately 20% of total power used and the general adoption of light emitting diodes (LEDs) could potentially lead to a 10% reduction in overall consumption. This project investigates the materials, device structure, and processes for developing large-area organic photovoltaic cells and explores the development of high brightness organic LEDs.

Space tool development

Top-notch experts from PolyU and the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) join hands to participate in the nation’s lunar exploration programme. They have developed a Camera Pointing System which was carried on board the Chang’e-3 lunar lander in 2013. The tool serves to capture images of the lunar landscape and monitor the progress of the lunar rover.

They will also jointly develop a sophisticated surface sampling and packing system for collecting lunar rock samples in the third phase of China’s lunar exploration programme scheduled for 2017.

The two parties have signed an agreement to establish a Joint Laboratory in Precision Engineering for Space Applications and a Joint Laboratory in Mechanics and Space Environment Engineering.

PolyU’s rich experience in space tool development includes: the Space Holinser Forceps used in the Russian Space Agency’s MIR Space Station in 1995; the Mars Rock Corer in the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Mission in 2003; and the Soil Preparation System in the Sino-Russian Phobos-Grunt mission in 2011.


PolyU design experts have developed the world's first and much sought-after database storing 3-dimensional head and face measurements of ethnic Chinese, enabling designers, engineers and manufacturers to create perfect-fitting consumer products for Chinese users.

Smart pressure monitored suit – rebuild body contour

Developed by PolyU rehabilitation experts, the Smart Pressure Monitored Suit (SPMS) is the first innovative medically prescribed pressure therapy product designed in Asia. By using 3D scanner and the computerized pattern drafting system (YUKA), any injured body region of a patient can be transformed into two-dimensional paper patterns, which will then be tailored for sewing tightly fitting SPMS for the patient.

The SPMS is applicable to different medical conditions including post-burn hypertrophic scar, post-surgery lymphoedema, varicose vein and deep vein thromobosis. Its elastic property can also be used to reshape body contour after plastic reconstructive surgery such as mastectomy.

Tomorrow's Guestrooms

With the establishment of Hotel ICON, PolyU’s leadership role in hospitality research is further enhanced. Three ‘Tomorrow’s Guestrooms’ at the hotel are dedicated to serve as a platform to innovate, develop and showcase new technologies, hotel designs and business concepts in hotel management. The University is partnering with hotel suppliers and providers in technology, well-being and design in innovative and collaborative projects not only for the benefit of education and research but also for the advancement of the entire industry.

Tourism demand forecasting system

PolyU researchers have developed a web-based system that can forecast tourism-related demands for 10 countries and regions, providing useful figures for the development of the hotel and tourism industry.

Collaborative Aviation Research Project - PolyU Advocates Innovative Technology Research in Asia

Contributing to Technology Research in Asia, PolyU Creates Ground-breaking and Innovative Research Projects in Response to the Needs of Society

In the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), we view the world as a whole and strive to bring people closer together through innovative aviation research solutions. Technology research in Asia has been thriving with fruitful results in various areas. PolyU derives meaningful outcomes through collaborative research with the world-renowned corporations and other top universities, hoping to expand possibilities in human life and to retain our mission of advancing knowledge and the frontiers of technology, thus meeting the changing needs of society.

ASRC - the First Collaborative Aviation Research Project in Hong Kong

With a sound and stable economic system, Hong Kong has been one of the world's fastest-growing cities and a sought-after hub for entrepreneurs. Endorsed by the Government and local industry, PolyU has established Hong Kong¡¯s first Aviation Services Research Centre (ASRC), a collaborative research project with the Boeing Company. Being the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems, the company supports airlines across 150 countries. The establishment of the ASRC largely contributes to the innovative research for the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of commercial aircrafts. The ASRC leverages industrial knowledge, academic research expertise and capabilities in the pursuit of maintaining sustainable growth of aviation industry across China and Southeast Asia. We conduct aviation research and development on three major topics: the generic research projects funded through members¡¯ fee, the projects funded by Innovation and Technology Commission or other government bodies; and the projects commissioned specifically by companies. Through such collaborative research partnership with the Boeing Company, PolyU anticipates to bring huge economic benefits to the local society and shape a new standard for technology research in Asia.

To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind - Applied Research Topics in PolyU

PolyU carries the vision of becoming a leading university that excels in professional education, applied research and partnership for the betterment of Hong Kong, the nation and the world. We achieve such goal by bringing numerous innovative research ideas into reality. With the support of HK$2,540 million, 3,600 projects have been undertaken in the 2015/16. On the other hand, we keep on seeking more funding for our upcoming research. Our research outcomes have been altering the world's imagination and pushing technological boundaries further and further. We place great concern in the local community, insisting on deriving practical solutions that can improve the quality of life. We have developed medical tools such as the Defocus Incorporated Soft (Contact) (DISC) Lens, multi-potent drug against cancer, smart pressure monitored suit that rebuilds body contour and the like. We are, at the same time, a leader in technology research in the nation and Asia. The Intelligent ship-bridge anti-collision surveillance system has improved the security of sea-crossing and river-crossing bridge structures, while the Camera Pointing System developed had been on mission with Chinese Chang¡¯e-3 lunar lander. These projects mark the huge success of PolyU research and motivate us to keep striving for excellence in the future.