Inaugural exhibition

Biofilm Inhibition in Oral Pathogens by Nanodiamonds​

Complex microbial communities, e.g., biofilms residing in our oral cavity, have recognized clinical significance, as they are typically the main cause for infections. Diamond nanoparticles, namely, nanodiamonds (NDs) have been demonstrated to work as an effective antibacterial agent against planktonic cells (free-floating state) due to their many promising physico-chemical properties. However, little is known about the behaviors of NDs against biofilms (sessile state).

Soft Robotic Manipulator for Intra-operative MRI-guided Transoral Laser Microsurgery

Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging (MRI) provides compelling features for the guidance of interventional procedures, including high-contrast soft tissue imaging, detailed visualization of physiological changes, and thermometry. Laser-based tumor ablation stands to benefit greatly from MRI guidance because 3D resection margins alongside thermal distributions can be evaluated in real time to protect critical structures while ensuring adequate resection margins. However, few studies have investigated the use of projection-based lasers like those for transoral laser microsurgery, potentially because dexterous laser steering is required at the ablation site, raising substantial challenges in the confined MRI bore and its strong magnetic field. Here, we propose an MR-safe soft robotic system for MRI-guided transoral laser microsurgery. Owing to its miniature size (Ø12 × 100 mm), inherent compliance, and five degrees of freedom, the soft robot ensures zero electromagnetic interference with MRI and enables safe and dexterous operation within the confined oral and pharyngeal cavities. The laser manipulator is rapidly fabricated with hybrid soft and hard structures and is powered by microvolume (<0.004 milliter) fluid flow to enable laser steering with enhanced stiffness and lowered hysteresis. A learning-based controller accommodates the inherent nonlinear robot actuation, which was validated with laser path-following tests. Submillimeter laser steering accuracy was demonstrated with a mean error < 0.20 mm. MRI compatibility testing demonstrated zero observable image artifacts during robot operation. Ex vivo tissue ablation and a cadaveric head-and-neck trial were carried out under MRI, where we employed MR thermometry to monitor the tissue ablation margin and thermal diffusion intraoperatively.

Anti-COVID-19 stainless steel

Stainless steel (SS) is one of the most extensively used materials in public areas and hygiene facilities but has no inherent antimicrobial properties. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 exhibits strong stability on regular SS surfaces, with viable viruses detected even after three days. This has created a high possibility of virus transmission among people using these areas and facilities.

Digitisation of Human Body Motion for Garment Production

Garment production is a laborious process that relies primarily on manual operations. Smart robots are set to play a vital role in future automations and assist human workers with repetitive and/or high-risk tasks. To achieve interactive human-robot collaborations, robots need to learn and understand how humans work and thus a cost-effective means of digitising manual operations is of the essence. In this project, we aim at developing an innovative approach to high-fidelity, real-time full-body motion capture for garment workers without using specialty cameras.

Detection and Diagnostics of Airborne Viruses

A lot of diseases can be transmitted via airborne agents, such as viruses spreading through droplets. The concentrations of these airborne agents are usually too low in the environment and it has created difficulties for the current detection instruments available in the market. We aim to fill this gap by developing new technologies to enhance detection and diagnostics of airborne viruses.

Intelligent Mobile Robots for UVC based Disinfection

Current surface disinfection methods include spraying chemicals or using UV light. However, it is difficult to directly spray liquid chemicals on surfaces due to the threat of negative environmental impacts and possible damage and contamination to various surfaces such as books and food packages. Currently, UV based disinfection lights are either wall mounted or operate on mobile bases. Moreover, they are often positioned metres away from surfaces that require disinfection.

Industry 4.0 Cases for Smart Manufacturing, Logistics, and Construction

The housing shortage is a well-recognized challenge in Hong Kong. To meet the huge and growing needs, productivity and on-time delivery facilitated by modern building technology and decision support platforms in housing projects are crucial. Besides, e-commerce has grown very fast recently. Professor Huang’s team developed cyber-physical systems including both hardware and software solutions for construction and e-commerce logistics industries.