PolyU innovations shine in Geneva’s Invention Expo

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has recently been awarded record number of top prizes in the International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products held earlier in Geneva. On top of winning the Prize of the State of Geneva (one of the top five prizes) and two Grand Awards, PolyU researchers won six Gold Medals and a Silver Medal.

Accompanied by PolyU President Professor Timothy W. Tong, the Consul General of Switzerland in Hong Kong Mr Hans J. Roth today (26 May) presented the medals and trophies to the winning researchers at a special ceremony held on the university campus.

It was the sixth time that PolyU participated in this large-scale international event. Under the patronage of the Swiss Federal Government and the City Government of Geneva, the annual exhibition has put together some 1,000 inventions by more than 700 exhibitors from 45 countries and territories, drawing more than 60,000 visitors from all over the world.

The winning entries presented by PolyU and their respective inventors are listed and briefly described as follows:

(1) Prize of the State of Geneva and Gold Medal with Jury’s Congratulations:
A Novel, Multi-potent Drug removing Arginine from the blood and kill cancer cells
Inventors: Dr Thomas Leung Yun-chung and Dr Thomas Lo Wai-hung, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology

The new drug works on the mechanism of starving cancer cells through depletion of arginine – a key nutrient for many cancer cells. The main constituent of this new drug is arginase, an enzyme that degrades arginine, with urea as an end-product. However, naturally occurring arginase has a very short half-life and thus cannot be used for therapeutic purpose. Using state-of-the-art DNA technology, PolyU researchers produced in 2005 a recombinant human arginase that, after chemical modification, has a significantly prolonged half-life for therapeutic use. More recently, they have further invented a novel drug based on naturally occurring thermostable Bacillus arginase (BCA).

This breakthrough has a far-reaching impact in that the new generation of cancer drug developed by PolyU researchers could provide a cure not just for liver cancer, but also for other deadly cancer diseases. In the laboratory settings, the new 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. A patent application has been filed for this novel drug.

(2) Grand Award and Gold Medal:
Life-cycle Health Monitoring of Massive Infrastructure
Inventor: Dr Ni Yi-qing, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

In the area of “structural health monitoring” for mammoth infrastructures such as long-span bridges and high-rise buildings, PolyU is recognized as the international leader. Among such projects PolyU researchers have handled are the Sutong Bridge crossing the Yangtze River as well as the Guangzhou New TV Tower currently under construction.

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. Not only can the system identify the structural damage at the earliest possible stage to avoid any catastrophic structural failure, but also assess structural health immediately after any major hazardous events. The system also provides valuable information on where the severest damage is and when/how remedial work should be done. It can tell whether immediate evacuation of the occupants and clearing of valuable belongings is necessary.

(3) Industrial Design Prize and Gold Medal with Jury’s Congratulations:
i-Give Interactive Donation System
Inventors: Prof. Michael Siu and Ms Catherine Hu, School of Design

Combining the sense of urban management and public design, the i-Give interactive donation system provides a user-friendly multimedia interface for promoting, motivating and assisting people to make donations through electronic payment at anytime, anywhere. This two-way interactive system also gives a stronger sense of satisfaction to the donors with its flexible, multimedia entertainment response for the acknowledgement of donation (e.g., downloading ring tones or wallpaper images to mobile phones).

This flexible control system can be modified and updated for different applications. Its newly invited inclusive form also caters to the special needs of the physically disabled and the visually impaired. Its high-end electronic payment system with contactless smart-device (such as connecting to Octopus, Visa payWave systems) also overcomes the existing limitations of the coin- and note-donation practices. The system can be further customized for charities to suit different donation situations and purposes.

(4) Gold Medal with Jury’s Congratulations:
An Energy-saving High Brightness LED Lighting System
Inventor: Prof. Michael Tse, Department of Electronic and Information Engineering

This new energy-efficient LED driver with dimming function increases luminous output and lowers heat loss by using two-level pulse-width-modulated (PWM) current. In conventional PWM technique, the low-level current is set to zero hence the LED is driven by periodic on-off pulse to give better dimming functionality, and this is found to degrade the luminous efficacy of the LED. By raising the low-level current above zero, PolyU researchers successfully recorded a significant improvement in luminous efficacy.

Since the current waveform remains pulsating, the outstanding dimming functionality and colour stability available from the PWM technique is retained. Prototype of the power supply capable of producing the required two-level pulsating current waveform was constructed and the idea was tested on high-brightness LEDs produced by two leading manufacturers, CREE and Philips, which validated the proposed idea. This PolyU-developed invention can increase luminous efficacy of LED by 18 per cent on the average.

(5) Gold Medal : Ultrasonic Semiconductor Thin-die Bonding Platform
Inventor: Dr Derek Or Siu-wing, Department of Electrical Engineering

With the advancement of electronics industry and the increasing miniaturization and functionality of electronic products, there is a significant reduction in the thickness of semiconductor dies from 500 to 25 μm in recent years. Accordingly, there is a pressing need to develop related semiconductor bonding technology to support the further advancement of the industry.

PolyU researchers have developed a novel ultrasonic technological platform consisting of a sustainable automated manufacturing equipment and a green process for the bonding of semiconductor thin-dies onto various substrates. While the existing bonding equipment suffers from high process temperature (120–160 ºC) and long process time (3–10 s), the PolyU-developed ultrasonic thin-die bonding equipment enables the bonding process at room temperature (25 ºC) and within merely two seconds in a safe, clean (green) and reliable manner. It also enables simultaneous stacked die bonding in excess of five layers of thin-dies within a single bonding process cycle and for various substrates, including glass, PCB, flex, metal, etc.

(6) Gold Medal : Smart Pressure Monitored Suit – Rebuild Body Contour
Inventor: Prof. Cecilia Li-Tsang, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Developed by PolyU rehabilitation experts, the Smart Pressure Monitored Suit (SPMS) is the first innovative medically prescribed pressure therapy product designed in Asia. The SPMS is fabricated using the best available fabric scientifically tested on its tension, softness, permeability, comfort and durability. By using 3D scanner and the computerized pattern drafting system (YUKA), any injured body region of the patient can be transformed into two-dimensional paper patterns, which will then be tailored for sewing the tightly fitting SPMS for the patient. Its pressure range is monitored based on the medical prescriptions.

The SPMS is applicable to different medical conditions including post-burn hypertrophic scar, post-surgery lymphoedema, varicose vein, deep vein thromobosis. Its elastic property can also be used to reshape body contour after plastic reconstructive surgery such as mastectomy. It also has potential for use in orthopaedic conditions to reduce joint pain, inflammation as well as for body protection. Compared to traditional method, the fabrication of the SPMS also takes much shorter time, thus saving manpower and enhancing patients’ speedy recovery.

In addition, PolyU-affiliated joint venture BioEm Innovation Technology Ltd won a Silver Medal for its BioEm Central Air Immunization System – Air Handling Unit (AHU). Developed by Prof. Daniel Chan Wai-tin of the University’s Department of Building Services Engineering, the system is essentially a professional grade, programmable machine which can vaporize the BioEm Disinfectant Liquid into the AHU units of commercial buildings, and then purify and sanitize the airflow through air duct and out into office working area.

For more details about the 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, please refer to its official website at URL: www.inventions-geneva.ch

*****

Press Contacts
Mr Andrew Young
Director of Partnership Development
Tel      3400 2800
Email   pdayoung@polyu.edu.hk

Source: http://www.polyu.edu.hk/cpa/polyu/hotnews/details_e.php?year=2009&news_id=1645