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Inventive IoT Concept Propels Students Along Global Aviation Contest

Mechanical Engineering Student Soars to Round 2 of Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2019

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Fong Ho-Ming, Year 3 student in Mechanical Engineering and General Business Management at HKUST.
Fong Ho-Ming, Year 3 student in Mechanical Engineering and General Business Management at HKUST. [Download Photo]

FONG Ho-Ming, Year 3 student in Mechanical Engineering and General Business Management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), is part of a 3-student team that has advanced to Round 2 of Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2019, a global student competition in search of ideas that will transform the future of the aerospace industry.

Since launching the competition in 2008, Airbus has created a platform for students from around the world to bring their ideas to life together.

Participating students are invited to innovate in six key areas – Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things (IoT), Electrification, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality.

In Round 1 of this sixth instalment of the competition, Ho-Ming’s team “Kadoorie Hill Knights” chose to take on the challenge in the IoT category.

Ho-Ming said, “We observed that there is an increasing number of IoT developments in the past years, but also noticed that the aviation industry is historically slow in adopting new technology. Therefore, we wondered whether there would be simple IoT applications that can be implemented on aircraft.”

Together with his teammate Kev TO from the New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business and YEUNG Lok-Yin from the University of Hong Kong, Ho-Ming submitted a proposal on an “on-board biometrics-driven health monitoring system”. The premise of the project involves the construction of an IoT ecosystem to identify passengers who are feeling unwell during flights.

Among the 270 international student teams taking part in Round 1 in 2018, Airbus has shortlisted 51 teams including Kadoorie Hill Knights last December.

In Round 2, which spans three months till this March, these selected teams will further develop their ideas presented in their Round 1 proposals, with the support from Airbus mentors and aerospace experts.

Since last December, the team has approached several experts and gained some invaluable insights. They have almost finished fine-tuning their idea and are about to capture their concept in a video for submission.

After Round 2, no more than six teams will be chosen to enter Round 3, a live final to be held in the United Kingdom in June which will see them compete for the ultimate opportunity to take their ideas forward within the aerospace industry.

Ho-Ming said, “We are confident that we can bring our innovative solution beyond Round 2. We really hope that the idea will become a reality in the near future and enhance passengers’ experiences.”

But so far, the experience has already proved eye-opening for the trio.

“We have learnt to carefully untangle the sophistication and complexity behind each seemingly easy problem. For example, we didn’t anticipate so many regulatory concerns for a simple modification of the cabin configurations and needed to reconsider the feasibility of our solution. This global competition also inspires us to think out of the box and is a great opportunity for us to sharpen our presentation skills,” said Ho-Ming.

About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science.  HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking.  HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is ranked as the world’s best young university in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2019.  Its graduates were ranked 16th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global University Employability Survey 2018.