Impact Projects 2011-12

Impact Projects 2011-12

Promotion of an Mobile Apps for Knowledge Exchange

Dr. Wilton Fok

Principal Investigator: Dr. Wilton Fok ( Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering )
Telephone: 2857-8490

Project URL:

Project Objectives:

To promote a mobile device application, namely “iClass”, developed by the E-learning Technology Laboratory under the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. This application is a home-grown technology initially funded by a Teaching Development Grant for enhancement of teaching and learning in HKU. iClass can facilitate knowledge exchange among students and conduct interactive classes in schools. Since this application is also suitable for other schools and training institutions, the project team would like to share this application with the public. The project proposed includes:

  1. a user manual: how teachers and trainers can use this system for sharing knowledge, collecting opinions and encouraging innovation and creativity
  2. seminars and workshops: demonstrate the application and facilitate users to share their experience of application
  3. introductory videos: introduce and demonstrate how to use the system for knowledge sharing. The videos will be posted on online media and the links will be embedded in the user manual

Project Description:

Since the system was launchedpng January 2011, a lot of positive feedbacks have been received. Internally, the project has been tried by the colleagues from the Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Externally, a few primary and secondary schools request for trial use of the system. This technology also aroused media interest and the project team was interviewed by SCMP, Knowledge Magazine and China Daily. The quality of the system was also recognized by the Hong Kong ICT Award 2011 as the Best Ubiquitous Network - Mobile Learning & Publishing. Therefore the project team targets to apply the KE funding to further promote this technology among the public.

Book publication and video projects will be effective means of public communication and engagement. The proposed PI has published 4 books through the KE Impact Project and received good social response. Commendation letters flew from the HKSAR government and some overseas organizations also sent us request for copies for their libraries. The books will be distributed to primary and secondary schools, universities, technology companies and educational organizations etc. as well as through workshops and seminars. The videos posted on popular on-line multimedia channel will also allow potential overseas users to learn about the system. The links to the videos will be included in the book as 2D barcode (QR code) so that readers can use their KE mobile apps to watch them, which can help to save the DVD production cost.

Target Deliverables in 2011/12:

  1. 1000 copies of book publications (around 120-150 pages, A5, full color)
  2. Two workshops for primary and secondary school teachers
  3. One seminar for the general public
  4. At least two videos to introduce the system with application example, which will be uploaded to the Faculty of KE Portal, U-Vision and other public on-line media)

Fostering Development of Third-World Rural Village through Mini-Hydropower Solutions

Dr. Alfred C. H. Yu

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alfred C. H. Yu ( Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering )
Telephone: 2857-8482

Project Objectives:

To pursue real-world implementation of the outcomes of a student-developed project on household-level mini-hydropower generators that are designed for rural villages in the developing world. In collaboration with CEDARS, we have already established ties with a prominent non-government organization in Thailand, Nam Kham Basin Development Foundation, to work toward introducing our team’s mini-hydropower technologies in under-privileged communities in the Chiang Rai province where access to electricity is limited and the energy needs are largely unmet. Through our effort, we hope to help these communities to meet their energy needs through low-carbon approaches that do not rely on fossil fuels. This would be an important first step for these communities to stride toward sustainable development.

Project Description:

In this KE initiative, the Project Coordinator will lead a team of students to carry out a well-defined range of work that involves participatory design, prototype development, performance testing, and real-world dissemination.

We will conduct an exploratory site visit to the targeted worksites in Chiang Rai to solicit feedback from potential local users. This will ensure that our design process will be a participatory one that involves input from all stakeholders and is in line with the aims of knowledge exchange. With the gathered user input, we will develop small-scale working prototypes in Hong Kong to test the performance of our updated design and fine-tune its technical details. Once the prototype development has been completed, we will construct them at the targeted worksites in Chiang Rai in the early summer of 2012 and will train the local residents on its usage and maintenance.

Target Deliverables in 2011/12:

In the 2011-2012 academic year, we expect to have completed the implementation of mini-hydropower generators in at least one targeted worksite in Chiang Rai, Thailand. We plan to construct generators of at least 5 kW capacity. Material cost for this part of the work has been included as part of the project budget. We will also organize a public sharing session to raise public interest and promote similar projects in the future.

Smart Device and Robot Design Workshop and Competition

Dr. Vincent Lau

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vincent Lau ( Department of Computer Science )
Telephone: 2857-8460

Project Objectives:

To arouse the interest of Hong Kong primary and secondary school students in software development, smart device design and robotics technologies, by helping students to design and create smart devices and robots. This KE project will organize workshops and competitions for students and optional teachers to create smart devices and robots, some may use the Radio Television Hong Kong robot kits.

Project Description:

This project as an extension of KE projects in 2010/11 has received positive feedback and already acquired the necessary equipments e.g. net books and robot kits. In the KE robotic activities in 2010/11, our department was awarded with around HK$300,000 for creating RTHK robot technologies workshops for teachers. From July to November 2011, up to 300 teachers from primary and secondary schools were trained and 300 robot kits were given out.

This year, Hong Kong will be the host of International ABU Robocon 2012. Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) will organize a series of educational activities for the development of innovative technologies, including robot competitions, educational workshops and seminars in different levels focusing on the concept of creative design, IT and engineering knowledge. Along with 2012 Robocon and RTHK series, we can promote innovative technology in primary and secondary schools and general public. The equipment acquired by KE 2010/11 will be reused and the activities will be further analyzed for new learning experience. Seminars and workshops will encourage the development of creative thinking and critical thinking because they will have to overcome various problems when designing their robots or smart devices.

Target Deliverables in 2011/12:

The proposal targets to organize seminars and workshops, for around 200 secondary and primary students, to arouse their interest in the field of programming and robotics. A competition is targeting 50 students’ involvement, possibly with showcase in 2012 Robocon and some students may be interviewed by RTHK.

Measuring Visibility Using Digital Cameras

Prof. Francis C.M. Lau

Principal Investigator: Prof. Francis C.M. Lau ( Department of Computer Science )
Telephone: 2857-2170

Project Objectives:

To foster the public’s interest in meteorological computing in which HKU Engineering is actively engaged through demonstration of methods for measuring visibility using digital cameras and the organization of a Visibility Meter Design Competition in cooperation with Hong Kong Observatory. The Competition will comprise the following sessions:

  1. The creation of a website for dissemination of digital camera-based visibility measurement methods
  2. To organize a talk and a briefing session for the competition
  3. To hold workshop(s) and tutorial(s) for the competition participants
  4. To organize visit(s) to Hong Kong Observatory and HKU Engineering
  5. To organize prize presentation ceremony for participants

Project Description:

Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) has long been our partner in meteorological research. Our past projects with HKO have shown that it is practical to derive visibility readings from digital camera images. Following the footsteps of the Rain Gauge Design Competition and the Anemometer Design Competition successfully held in 2006 and 2008 respectively, we propose to organize a Visibility Meter Design Competition in cooperation with HKO.

A simplified and user-friendly version of digital camera-based visibility measurement method will be shared in the proposed website to the public. The method is well developed and carefully examined. Educational materials placed on the website linked with the Engineering Knowledge Exchange Portal will allow participants and the public to access them any time, even after the competition ends. Workshops, tutorials and visits allow direct communication with primary and secondary school participants, which was shown to be popular according to our experience of similar competitions.

Target Deliverables in 2011/12:

  1. A website for dissemination of materials of visibility measurement and their computational methods
  2. Link of the site from Engineering Knowledge Exchange Portal
  3. Organization of a Visibility Meter Design Competition for primary and secondary school students
  4. Media coverage of the competition

Establishing an industrial consortium for knowledge exchange of "RFID-enabled smart manufacturing"

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ting Qu ( Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering )
Telephone: 2857-7061

Project Objectives:

  1. Collaborate with two key industrial associations, namely the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) and Guangdong Logistics Profession Association (GDLPA) to establish an association-based cross-border industrial consortium to disseminate the knowledge and experience accumulated during the implementation of “RFID-enabled smart manufacturing” by HKU.
  2. Provide an integrated teaching-research-KE framework for experiential learning for HKU students within an industrial context.
  3. Set up standard KE materials (both printed materials and hand-on demo facilities) about the technology developed at HKU.
  4. Carry out hand-on workshops/seminar presentations and field studies.

Project Description:

An ITF project named "RFID-Enabled Real-Time Manufacturing Shop-floor Information Infrastructure for PRD Processing Trade Enterprises" has been completed by HKU in 2010. The achieved project results have been highly praised by government and successfully applied in real manufacturers through several pilot implementations. After the project, however, three problems relating to the effective and efficient knowledge exchange have emerged in three aspects. First, the technology beneficiaries are only those companies participated in the project. Second, the accumulated knowledge by HKU through this project have not been widely learnt and acknowledged by either academia or industries. Third, the technical groups being trained to a qualified level for supporting and sustaining the developed new technologies are lacking.

Target Deliverables in 2011/12:

  1. Establishment of an industrial consortium of at least two industrial associations, 10 core member companies and an additional 10 observer companies (associate members).
  2. Two workshop presentations and two hand-on demonstrations; and 5 seminars and field visits among member companies.
  3. A set of KE materials (both printed materials and hand-on demo facilities).
  4. (Optional) Submission of a prize award in collaboration with chosen member company (ies). [This may not be achieved within 11-12 but the effort will continue.]