HKUST Student Teams Won Two Champions in First-Ever “City I&T Grand Challenge”

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Innovative Solutions Under the New Normal

HKUST Student Teams Won Two Champions in First-Ever “City I&T Grand Challenge”

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“Breer” (left) and “PanopticAI” (right) took the championships in the City I&T Grand Challenge in the university/tertiary institute category.
“Breer” (left) and “PanopticAI” (right) took the championships in the City I&T Grand Challenge in the university/tertiary institute category. [Download Photo]

Two HKUST start-up teams “Breer” and “PanopticAI” were named Champion (Environment Sustainability) and Champion (Social Connectivity) respectively in Hong Kong’s first “City I&T Grand Challenge” in the university/tertiary institute category. Breer also gained the Most Favored Award in the same category for receiving the most public votes.

Under the theme of “Innovating for Hong Kong’s New Normal”, the City I&T Grand Challenge invites different sectors of the community to develop I&T solutions that will make Hong Kong safer, more efficient, connected, and sustainable. The solutions focus on two topics, namely “environmental sustainability” and “social connectivity”.

The competition was divided into four categories (primary school, secondary school, university/tertiary institute, and open group) and received more than 740 submissions from over 1,250 local and non-local contestants on an individual or team basis.

A food upcycling start-up, Breer addresses the bread waste problem in Hong Kong by collecting unsold, uneaten and surplus bread, and using it to brew local craft beer. The team comprises Electronic and Computer Engineering undergraduate Anushka PUROHIT and her teammates from the School of Business and Management. They swept three awards including the champion in the 2021 HKUST-Sino One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition.

PanopticAI was recognized for its camera-based remote health monitoring technology, which integrates cutting-edge AI and signal processing algorithms to measure the physiological signals of a person such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate by using the camera of a smartphone. Co-founded by Bioengineering PhD candidate Kyle WONG Kwan-Long, his teammates from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Decision Analytics (IEDA), and Prof. Richard SO, Associate Dean of Engineering (Research & Graduate Studies) and Professor of IEDA, the start-up is innovating next-generation camera-based health monitoring solutions to shape the future of digital health.

The two champion teams, together with other winners of the university/tertiary institute and open groups, will be given financial support for research and development as well as professional training sessions for refining their I&T solutions for trials at designated venues such as government departments or public organizations.

In addition, two HKUST teams “incrEDIBLE!” and “PointFit Tech” received Innovation Awards in the university/tertiary institute category. The first team created a set of biodegradable and edible cutlery to address the issues of plastic tableware pollution and micro-plastic poisoning. The second team developed an ultra-thin antibacterial nano-membrane that could deduce athletes’ stress level and warn them of overtraining through a connected mobile app.

Organized by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) together with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), the City I&T Grand Challenge was launched in December 2020 and had since then undergone multiple phases. It concluded its two-day Grand Pitch and Finale at Hong Kong Science Park in October 2021.

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