November 30, 2020

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PolyU researchers showcase innovations at virtual convention

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) won three “Global Innovation Awards” at the TechConnect Business Virtual Summit and Showcase 2020 (TechConnect). This is the fourth year that PolyU research teams received the prestigious awards at the world’s largest multi-sector event for fostering development and commercialisation of innovations.

The TechConnect Global Innovation Awards identify the top 15% of submitted technologies based on their potential positive impact on a specific industry sector. Over 400 submissions were received this year including those from global top-notch universities and technology enterprises.

Only 13 were presented with the global awards designated for non-US-funded innovations across the world, and PolyU received three of them. Other awardees include global-renowned institutes such as The University of Melbourne and The University of British Columbia.

PolyU’s three award-winning innovations are:

Water Dispersible Autofluorescent Polymer Dots Comprising of Non-Conjugated Polymers

by Professor LI Pei, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology

This new type of photoluminescent nanoparticles uses inexpensive nonconjugated polymers as building blocks and can display ultra-bright and multi-colour fluorescence upon excitations in both water and dry states. It also has excellent water dispersibility, low toxicity, high absorptivity, good photostability, and high quantum yield.

This innovation has various potential applications, including serving as bioimaging markers for in vitro cell imaging, autofluorescent nano-carriers for image-guided therapy, nanofillers in plastics for LED diffuser applications, fluorescent ink in anti-counterfeiting applications, chemosensors for heavy metal detection and structural health monitoring.

PolyUStimulator – Ultrasound Driven Piezoelectric Stimulator for Neuromusculoskeletal Rehabilitation

by Professor Yong-ping ZHENG and Dr Monzurul ALAM, Department of Biomedical Engineering

As existing electroceutical stimulators are bulky with a limited life span and pose transmission efficacy and safety concerns, wireless power delivery to electrical implants deep inside the body remains a critical challenge. The PolyUStimulator presents a battery-free, ultrasonically-powered, piezoelectric stimulator for functional muscles, nerves and bones. Ultrasound can reach deep into the body where conventional inductive energy cannot reach safely; it is also safe from radio frequency interference and is fully MRI and X-ray compatible.

This innovation can treat patients, ranging from neurological to orthopaedic conditions, who are paralysed or suffering from non-union bone fractures or neuromusculoskeletal pain.

A Time-dependent Machine-Learning-based Prediction System for Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis

by Mr Toby LI and Mr Justin CHAN, MPhil students under the supervision of Dr Chunyi WEN, Department of Biomedical Engineering (submission made under CLAIRE Clinical AI Research)

Early detection of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is critical for early intervention to prevent disease progression and to reduce the need for salvage joint replacement surgery. However, there remains a lack of a reliable prediction method for disease progression and a user-friendly platform for patient self-management. As such, an artificial intelligence-based KOA screening system has been developed which predicts the risk of KOA progression at different time points in the future.

This innovation leverages multiple modalities of medical data, including tabular electronic health records and knee radiographic images for a comprehensive analysis which could aid clinical practitioners to perform efficient triage and construct personalised treatment plans. Moreover, a mobile application is being developed to measure and record relevant physiological data of the patients regularly, facilitating continuous tracking and self-management of the disease.

The Interim Associate Vice President (Innovation and Technology Development) of PolyU, congratulated the teams and remarked, these award-winning technologies span from benefiting human health to various industrial applications. The university’s efforts in research, development and innovation at PolyU not only spark a fundamental scientific understanding of the world but also focuses on shaping the world by addressing global unmet needs through innovation.

PolyU is currently showcasing its latest innovative technologies, including the three award-winning innovations, at the virtual summit. During the online event, PolyU participants are taking the opportunity to explore research and collaboration opportunities with major industry end-users, top multinational companies and academic institutions to apply the innovations and generate a positive impact to the global community.