Research|Sustainability|Alzheimer's|Aging|Robotics|Autonomous Driving Technology|HKUST

From Sustainability, Robotics, Autonomous Driving Technology to Alzheimer's and Aging Research, HKUST unveils unknown chapters of human history and pushes the envelope with excitingly new discoveries and breakthroughs.

HKUST’s Attainment in Sustainability Research/Alzheimer's Research/Aging Research/Robotics Research and Autonomous Driving Technology

At the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), resources are spent on various research projects including but not limited to sustainability research, aging research, Alzheimer's research, robotics research and autonomous driving technology research. HKUST’s ventures in research projects span its many colleges, departments, and affiliates. Together with major research centres in Hong Kong and in mainland China, HKUST can navigate and advance the mission to improve the world for today and our future generations through outstanding research and technological breakthroughs.

This article aims at providing information about HKUST’s effort in research programmes in the main challenges of this century, including sustainability research, aging research, Alzheimer's research, robotics research and autonomous driving technology research. HKUST offers a range of research programmes in various fields of study, from biology that safeguards people’s health and the world’s biodiversity to finance technology that brings huge advancement to our modern world. HKUST strongly encourages our teaching and research staff to seize opportunities to provide consultancy services or conduct collaborative projects with related industries in order to propel a better future.

Sustainability Research at HKUST

The sustainability research at HKUST focuses on how innovation in technology and change in habits benefit the world’s future. Sustainability is a process in which people maintain environmental balance and harmony in resource development, investment direction, technological development and institutional change when meeting human needs and future development. Through the sustainability research at HKUST, we understand that as society changes, communities of the world are increasingly aware that when we make decisions for future development, we should not only take into account economic factors but also environmental and social factors. The purpose of the sustainability research at HKUST was to explore how to respond in an effective way.

Hong Kong was once selected as the "Most Livable City" and "The Most Suitable City for Business" by international authoritative media. However, behind the prosperity, there have been many social problems in recent years, including housing supply and demand, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and environmental pollution. This is where the sustainability research at HKUST comes in. As a leader, HKUST’s sustainability research helps pave the way to solutions of air quality, pollution control, livability enhancement, smart city development and so much more. Some projects include an air purification system that removes 99% of airborne bacteria and viruses, a real-time AI-powered extreme weather and landslide warning system to mitigate the risks and damage of landslides in Hong Kong, a mobile app that provides real-time air quality and health risk information and 48-hour forecasts down to street level.

Aging Research and Alzheimer's Research at HKUST

The local population structure of Hong Kong is undergoing a transformation. The aging population has undermined the city’s competitiveness, economic spending, well-being and many other areas. The Government estimates that in 20 years, about 1 out of every 3 Hong Kong people will be an elderly person aged 65 or above. The increase will be particularly dramatic over the next 40 years. Therefore, aging research and Alzheimer's research have become one of the main focuses of HKUST’s research team. And thanks to the great effort of aging research, the quality of life among elderly is gradually being the centre of discussion in society.

Being degenerative and incurable, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) often places a heavy burden on the patient's caregivers and families. The Alzheimer's research team of HKUST is part of the aging research unit. It comprises internationally renowned neuroscientists and researchers. The Alzheimer's research team addresses the urgent need for innovative treatments to curb the devastating disease faced by mainly the elder population. Through the groundbreaking discoveries of molecular mechanisms of synaptic functions and brain plasticity by the Alzheimer's research team, our researchers have significantly advanced the understanding of brain function under normal and pathological conditions, uncovering the deregulated pathways in AD. Such achievement of the Alzheimer's research team has provided new insights into the development of new Neurodegenerative diseases and clues to treating these diseases.

On the other hand, the aging research helps to provide solutions on a wider scope for the elderly population. The aging research team has spent much effort on addressing the health problems arising from the aging global population. Through the clinical aging research results and innovative medical technologies, our aging research team has achieved breakthroughs in topics such as Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, hearing aids for the elderly and smart wheelchairs. With the help of aging research, the university has successfully contributed to improving the operational efficiency of the elderly care facilities, propelling better care for the elderly and more efficient workflows for care providers.

Robotics Research and Autonomous Driving Technology at HKUST

Robotics research is a crucial area in modern development. The design, construction and use of machines (robots) are the main focus of robotics research that enable machines to perform tasks that are traditionally performed by humans. Robotics research is widely used in various industries and fields including automobile manufacturing as well as power generating and other industries where work must be performed in environments that are harmful to humans.

Robotics research is also conducted to develop machines to perform simple repetitive tasks, saving time and effort for human beings so that more efficient work can be done. At HKUST, robotics research comes from our Robotics Institute. The Robotics Institute is a multidisciplinary platform for integrating, promoting and supporting university-wide robotics research, development and educational projects. Key robotics research areas include autonomous driving technology, autonomous flight, smart construction and smart manufacturing.

As one main area of robotics research, autonomous driving technology is one of the advancements that brought great impacts on our everyday life. Autonomous driving technology aims at developing research and solutions around automobiles, maintaining a map of the surroundings of the vehicles based on a variety of sensors situated in different parts. With the help of autonomous driving technology, self-driving cars can be developed in the hope to create a safer, faster, and more environmentally friendly option for travel.

Autonomous driving technology at HKUST places relentless effort on realising smart transport. Take the generative adversarial imitation learning (GAIL) strategy adopted by the university’s autonomous driving technology unit as an example, the advanced method is capable of guiding autonomous vehicles to navigate in a socially compliant manner directly through raw depth inputs. This helps to bring the world one step closer to the goal of developing smart cities.

All in all, the effort in sustainability research, aging research, Alzheimer's research, robotics research and autonomous driving technology research at HKUST has brought positive impacts continuously for Hong Kong as well as the world.

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New discoveries and breakthroughs unveil unknown chapters of human history and push the research envelope

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Research Infrastructure

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