A team of undergraduate and postgraduate students from the School of Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is among six finalists for the 1st Asia Innovation Forum (AIF) Young Entrepreneur Award and the winner of the Lenovo Innovation Award for their cleverly built underwater robots featuring ingenious designs and remarkable versatility.
The AIF Young Entrepreneur Award was held in mid-October in Tokyo, Japan. 237 teams from China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and India competed in the contest, with six teams – two from HKUST – passing through the preliminary heat and semi-final to enter the final. The finalists participated in the Asia Innovation Forum and presented their business ideas to seasoned entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors in the region.
The team comprising postgraduate students Chun-yin Leung, Hoi-lam Chan and undergraduate student Lung-tak Ho from the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering pitched a business plan named ‘ROBUST – Underwater Robotics Solution’. The robot was configured in the same way as toy models made of building bricks, such that its main body can be connected with tools like a wrench and a camera, which help address the needs called for by varying circumstances and nature of tasks. Intended for underwater research, monitoring and investigations, the robot will lead the push for science and technology research, environmental safety and entertainment activities. Although the underwater robotics industry in Asia largely originated from Europe and America, the team saw significant potential in the regional market and is ready to fill the vaccum. The panel of judges and investors showed great interest in their business idea.
To gear up for the challenge of setting up businesses, the teams participated in a wide array of enrichment talks and entrepreneurship workshops organized by HKUST Business School, Entrepreneurship Center and Technology Transfer Center, getting a solid grasp of knowledge in business management and operations, the formulation of market strategies, the writing of business proposals and others. They also engaged in lively exchanges of ideas with industry representatives and aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition to these, they have been earnest participants in entrepreneurship competitions, where they got a chance to hone their technologies, business strategies and skills.
Another team led by Margaret Dan Wu, PhD student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering also landed among the six finalists with a project titled ‘Specific LED Module Based on PETAL Technology for Large-scale LED Backlighting’. Though joining HKUST for less than a year, Wu was deeply impressed with the international campus and its robust innovation and entrepreneurial atmosphere. She realized greater value could be generated by combining advanced technology with practical applications, an idea which she believed would inform her ensuing scientific research efforts.
Prof Khaled Ben Letaief, Dean of School of Engineering, was enthusiastic about the students’ accomplishments. He said, “HKUST is entrusted with the mission to drive societal development and nurture future leaders with its excellent education and research. True to the University’s vision, the School of Engineering not only equips students with professional knowledge, but also motivates them to join international competitions which inculcate creativity, communication skills and teamwork spirit. Students are given a plethora of chances to apply their professional knowledge and cultivate interests in entrepreneurship. The application of frontier technologies in turn reinforces our mission to enhance societal and economic developments.” Prof Kam-tim Woo, Supervisor of HKUST Robotics Team also pointed out by taking part in large-scale competitions, student could network with enterprises, faculty and researchers of different countries and deepen their understanding in the dynamics of industry. The experience will give a big boost to their personal and career development.
Jointly hosted by the Asia Innovators’ Initiative and the Fourth Valley Concierge Corporation in Japan, the AIF Young Entrepreneur Award aims at creating an entrepreneurial platform for outstanding university students from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, India and other Asian cities and countries. The contest also brings forth young entrepreneurs and investors in its drive to promote societal growth.
For media enquiries, please feel free to contact :
Tel: 2358 6306