CU launches world's first medical innovation competition
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has launched the "Engineering Medical Innovation Global Competition" (EMedic Global 2016), the world's first medical innovation challenge, to promote the research and development of medical engineering and draw more talents to the field.

University students from around the world are invited to design and develop clinically-driven and patient-centred technology for the future of medicine and healthcare. The inaugural EMedic Global 2016 attracted 40 student teams from five continents. Out of the 40 submissions, 27 finalist teams from Canada, the UK, the US, Switzerland, mainland China, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong were shortlisted.

The Gold Award went to a team formed by students from CU's Department of Mechanical & Automated Engineering and the Department of Surgery, for their project on "Surgical Robotic System for Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection". They also won the Technical Challenge Award and the Best Hong Kong Team Award.

EMedic Global Competition was organised by CU's Chow Yuk Ho Technology Centre for Innovative Medicine, and co-organised by its Biomedical Engineering Programme & Graduate Division and Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corp. Participants must compete as part of a team and interdisciplinary teams with members from various engineering, science and other disciplines are encouraged. The scope of competition includes health screening and diagnostic devices, medical monitoring devices, non-implantable therapeutic devices and implantable therapeutic devices.

Breakthrough for SCL East-West Corridor tunnel

The MTR Coprporation has reached another milestone on the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) project with the breakthrough of the 11 km tunnel for the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section, which will form the backbone of the line's East-West Corridor.

"The construction of this strategic railway through the Lion Rock and complicated ground conditions in Wong Tai Sin and Ma Tau Wai areas has not been an easy feat. With the support from the community, our projects team has risen on top of various challenges during the past four years. We very carefully snaked through the underground landscape within touching distance of existing railway tunnels, underground utilities and building foundations, thereby moving a significant step towards the completion of this very important railway project," said Ir Dr Philco Wong, projects director of the Corporation.

The Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section of SCL is an extension of the existing Ma On Shan Line from Tai Wai Station through East Kowloon to connect with the West Rail Line at Hung Hom Station. It includes construction of a tunnel, new stations and extension of existing stations in Sha Tin, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon City and Yau Tsim Mong districts, to form the East-West Corridor.


Artificial leaves for tackling CO2 emissions

Artificial leaves that can convert CO2 into fuels to tackle global warming have been developed by scientists at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) in partnership with international colleagues.

Dr Wey Yang Teoh, associate professor in the School of Energy & Environment at CityU, and Dr Alex Chi Kin Yip, senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, are principle investigators of the project entitled "Decorating Artificial TiO2 Leaves for Effective Carbon Dioxide Capture and Usage".

The team produced titanium dioxide (TiO2) artificial leaves that replicate the structure of natural leaves, which can be used as a platform to convert CO2 into precious chemicals using sunlight and water.

"We believe that sustainable CO2 capturing and conversion into valuable products such as formic acid, methanol and methane are viable pathways in dealing with CO2emission," said Dr Teoh.

The next stage of the research is to attach various in-house developed catalysts to the artificial leaves as a way of controlling the selectivity of the CO2 conversion products, the team said.


'Living walls' can play significant role in polluted cities
Cities are being encouraged to 'turn green' to help tackle rising toxic air hot spots.

A report by Arup called "Cities Alive: Green Building Envelope" reviews green infrastructure schemes across five global cities, namely London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Melbourne and Hong Kong, to quantify the benefits of 'green building envelopes'. It shows that the contribution of 'green building envelopes', such as moss and vegetated walls, vertical farming and roof gardens, has been underestimated.

Worldwide, 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012 were attributed to exposure to poor air quality. Green envelopes, often dismissed as "architectural window dressing", can reduce localised air pollution by up to 20% in some locations, rapidly reducing toxic air at street level.

Advanced computer software was used to provide a visual representation of the flow of gasses and help determine the effectiveness of green building envelopes to reduce pollutant concentrations. The report highlights plant species, such as pine and birch, that are particularly effective because of their ability to capture large quantities of particulate matter, including during winter, when pollution concentrations are highest.

The study also highlights green envelopes' ability to reduce sound levels from emergent and traffic noise sources by up to 10 dB in certain situations. Increasing the quantity of vegetation in a city can also reduce temperatures. Green envelopes can also reduce peak energy consumption in traditional buildings by up to 8%.

First variable density TBM launched on SCL

The first variable density (VaD) tunnel boring machine (TBM) to be used in Hong Kong has been launched by the Dragages-Bouygues JV for construction of the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter to Admiralty Tunnels of Shatin to Central Link (SCL). The city’s first VaD TBM can adapt to the face density of the slurry to tackle the problems of heterogeneity and shallow ground conditions. By adopting two-component annulus grout instead of traditional mortar, the project team can minimise the space required for mixing plant and material storage on site. The VaD TBM will tunnel through the city’s busiest districts and is expected to complete the excavation in early 2017. Image: Dragages


MottMac appointed for brownfield feasibility study
The Civil Engineering & Development Department (CEDD) has appointed Mott MacDonald to look at the possibility of making use of brownfield sites to meet the growing demand for public housing and other social and economic development needs.

Brownfield sites in Hong Kong are currently being used for industrial operations such as open storage, port-backup facilities, industrial workshops, logistics operations and recycling yards, as well as the storage of construction materials and machinery.

The consultant will undertake preliminary building design works, including undertaking planning and engineering assessments, recommending the operational model and investigating the economic viability of the proposed sites for accommodating the target brownfield operations. The study will involve consultation with stakeholders including existing brownfield operators, industry representatives and relevant government authorities and departments.

The feasibility study is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

HKPC calls for strengthened network security
Businesses and industries are urged to strengthen the security of their websites and networked industrial systems amid the prevalence of organised attacks, as reflected by a 476% surge in ransomware-related incidents.

According to Willy Lin, chairman of the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT) of HKPC received 236 ransomware-related incident reports in the first eight months of this year, up 476% over the same period last year.

"The proliferation of ransomware involves careful engineering and a detailed operational model devised by cyber crime syndicates. They even offer 'Ransomware-as-a-Service' to other criminals with no cyber know-how," Mr Lin said.

In addition, as more and more industrial systems and services are connected through the Internet to facilitate data exchanges and regulate production workflow, new network interfaces and flow of data over untrusted network will create fresh cyber threats. To raise awareness of these new threats, HKPC will organise an international conference to share knowledge and best practices on cyber security in 'industry 4.0'.
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