A high-profile delegation from the Academy of Sciences Hong Kong (ASHK) visited ASTRI on 6 November 2017, to exchange views on scientific and technological R&D. The delegation included the Academy’s founding president Professor Tsui Lap-chee, GBM, GBS, JP; ASHK’s founding member Professor Tony F Chan, JP, President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST); Professor Joseph J Y Sung, SBS, JP, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK); and ASHK Secretary General Mr Terence Chan. Mr Wong Ming-yam, BBS, JP, Chairman of ASTRI, welcomed the delegates to ASTRI along with Dr Meikei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer and other senior executives.
The ASHK delegation learnt about ASTRI’s various R&D initiatives including Financial Technologies, Cover Glass and Touch Panel Glass Automatic Defects Inspection Systems, Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) Platform, as well as 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) Displays. They were also briefed on the projects and accomplishments of the Hong Kong Branch of Chinese National Engineering Research Centre (CNERC) for Application Specific Integrated Circuit System, which is based in ASTRI.
The ASHK delegation stressed the need to foster stronger collaboration and exchange between academic institutions, technology developers and the industry. Professor Tsui recently spearheaded an ASHK Mentorship Programme for Hong Kong’s secondary school students, offering them a chance to mingle with the city’s scientific and engineering elite. He dubbed the collaboration between students and technology experts as a springboard that can “produce the city’s the next great scientist through the interaction between Distinguished Masters and Accomplished Students”. The two University Presidents shared their wish to facilitate more career development opportunities for science and technology graduates in association with ASTRI.
Echoing the delegation members’ suggestion to expose youngsters to practical research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), ASTRI Chairman Mr Wong said, “It is imperative to have regular and meaningful interaction between all the players in the technology ecosystem, including students, technology developers and businesses.” Mr Wong referred to the many career development opportunities available at ASTRI which “welcomes talented scientists and engineers to join various R&D areas in ASTRI – to sharpen their skills and make a difference.”
Professor Chan and Professor Sung, Presidents of two of Hong Kong’s most globally-renowned universities, placed strong emphasis on providing students with real-life exposure into science and technology R&D. They cited examples of the FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme (FCAS) co-organised by ASTRI and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), where HKUST and CUHK are both participating universities. More such opportunities and platforms are needed for university students and graduates to work with institutions like ASTRI, and gain valuable practical experience.
The delegates showed a keen interest in ASTRI’s innovative technologies and learnt about their impact on Hong Kong residents’ everyday lives. While visiting the Smart City Innovation Centre, developed jointly by ASTRI and Hong Kong Science Park, the delegates witnessed practical applications like AR Head-Mount Display, Smart Navigation and Smart Parking, Smart Meter for utility services, and Connected Cars for Smart Mobility. The discussions during the visit referred to the Hong Kong Smart City Consultancy Study Report recently released by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO). The Government’s smart city vision for Hong Kong involves “building a strong economy, enhancing the quality of people’s lives, and making Hong Kong a smart, sustainable city.”
Professor Sung mentioned “elderly care” in particular, when discussing the future challenges in Hong Kong’s smart city development. With an ageing population, “offering a safe and comfortable living to the society’s senior citizens shall be a key priority” for the Government as well as for public service providers, he said.
ASTRI’s Health Technologies R&D involve developing applications and solutions, especially in the areas of preventive health monitoring, medical diagnosis, medical computing and data analytics. In the recent past, ASTRI’s R&D teams developed an innovative cardiovascular monitoring device, a hybrid tracking system used in elderly care centres, an e-Education and Infotainment Platform for senior citizens, an intelligent preventive healthcare system which combines wireless sensors and smart devices to track and report key health indicators.
ASTRI, as the largest applied R&D institution in Hong Kong, undertakes a number of initiatives in smart city development. While exchanging experiences and insights with the visiting ASHK delegation, ASTRI’s R&D professionals discussed various innovative projects that the Institute has pursued over the years. These include: smart connectivity, smart mobility, smart utility and public transportation, smart healthcare, and public safety. In supporting the Government’s Smart Hong Kong vision, ASTRI leverages a number of R&D fields such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) – including Internet-of-Vehicles (IoV) and Device-to-Device (D2D) communications, Pre-5G and 5G communications, data analytics, smart city software platform and network security.
The delegation acknowledged ASTRI’s highly-capable R&D teams, and hoped that ASTRI would “continue to invest in its R&D capabilities, people and infrastructure” to deliver innovative solutions in full alignment of Hong Kong’s socio-economic priorities. They also talked about global as well as regional benchmarking, and how neighbouring cities and economies are approaching their smart city development.
Professor Tsui summed up the visit by saying, “Through this visit, we have been enlightened by the developments and achievements at ASTRI. We wish ASTRI continued success and look forward to hearing more breakthrough stories in the not too distant future.”