PolyU designs sweep four awards in Malaysian Invention Exhibition

Prof. Michael Siu of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)’s School of Design (SD) has recently drawn much attention from invention exhibitions around the world. His inventions, “Chess for the Blind” and “SmartBin – Flexible Modular Recycle Bins”, have brought home four prestigious awards in the 19th International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX 2008) held from 9 to 11 May in Malaysia.

Organised by the Malaysian Invention and Design Society, ITEX 2008 has attracted exhibitors from seven countries and territories, showcasing more than 500 inventions. “Chess for the Blind” has won three awards, namely ITEX 2008 Best Invention in the Overseas Category, Gold Medal Award and British Invention Show Award.

This invention is the first set of Chinese chess with an inclusive and universal concept which allows people with different vision capabilities, including the visually impaired and the blind people, to enjoy playing chess together. It promotes an inclusive society, eliminates discrimination, and assists and encourages the visually impaired to be independent and communicate with other people.

The chess set, specially designed by PolyU designers in collaboration with the Hong Kong Blind Union, can help visually impaired people distinguish different chess pieces, including the different colours of pieces; search, read, locate, move and pick up pieces; read pieces from different directions without any confusion; realize the whole setting of the chess game; and learn and become familiar with the game easily.

“We add a wave pattern on the edge of each red-team piece for easy identification,” said Prof. Siu. More importantly, the newly invented international tactile information overcomes the perplexing variations of existing Braille systems based on the pronunciation of dialects.

Another award-winning project by Prof. Siu is the “SmartBin – Flexible Modular Recycle Bins”, which scooped a Silver Medal in the same event. Jointly developed by PolyU and Poon Kei Engineering Co., this first set of interlocking and knockdown recycle bins is designed to suit the needs of different countries and territories according to their own regulations or requirements on waste separation.

The interlocking design, the extendable framework and various panel options make the SmartBin remarkably flexible. Unlike the conventional 3-coloured waste separation bins commonly used in Hong Kong as well as some countries, this set of modular recycle bins can be assembled, disassembled and stacked into an easily carried unit for storage and transport. Furthermore, the design facilitates the replacement of individual worn-out or damaged parts without the need to replace the entire bin, saving a substantial amount of money and resources.

Prof. Siu added, “The bins can be made of recycle materials like stainless steel, plastics or aluminium, which are not only environmentally-friendly but also robust and easy to clean.”


Press Contacts
Prof. Michael Siu, School of Design
Tel      2766 5455
Email   m.siu@polyu.edu.hk