In Focus - Issue 29 (Spring 2018)

A taste of engineering for the young hile many still think of a university professor as con ned to an ivory tower, there are now many academics who reach out to society at large to make a contribution. In the School of Engineering (SENG), one of the greatest champions of the “engineering in the community” concept is Prof Tim Woo. An Electronic and Computer Engineering alumnus who gained his BEng, MPhil and PhD degrees at HKUST, Prof Woo is Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Director of the Center for Global & Community Engagement. He recently appeared in a kid-oriented TV program to communicate the message that engineering improves numerous aspects of our lives, and can also be simple and fun to learn. The program, titled (We Are Good Neighbors ) and broadcast in Cantonese on Hong Kong’s RTHK , featured “Dr Tim” in eight weekly episodes in January and February . Prof Woo said: “While the traditional image of an engineer is one wearing a helmet and a reflective vest with a spanner in his hand doing all the dirty work, I would like to project the image of today’s engineers, who create and innovate to make the world a better place to live.” Prof Woo is passionate about connecting up engineering concepts and initiatives with both the younger generation and underprivileged members of the community. In recent years, he has organized an underwater robot competition for Hong Kong primary and secondary schools so the students can gain an early appreciation of what engineering can do. This endeavor involves cross-campus HKUST input, encompassing the Schools of Engineering, Science, Business, Humanities and Social Science, and Interdisciplinary Programs O ce, along with students from other local tertiary institutions, such as Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Education University of Hong Kong, and Lingnan University. “We have taken this robotics competition into the community, and welcome participation not only from mainstream students, but also students with special educational needs, ethnic minorities and the underprivileged,” Prof Woo said. “This year we had competing teams, and we were delighted that one group of special educational needs students and another group of hearing-impaired students won in their respective heats with a near-perfect score!” W 33 IN FOCUS Prof Tim Woo (center) and RTHK program hosts Harry Wong (left) and Micky Wong at the recording studio. That’s awesome! Prof Tim Woo’s captivating television topics introducing engineering to youngsters: . Loud speaker used as a light switch . Underwater robots for teenagers and children . Interactive pedestrian tra c light . Intelligent sh tank . Computer keyboard used as a musical instrument 6. Ferris wheel and the virtue of slow motion . Disc-tossing robot 8. Unmanned automated vehicle View these episodes at lW EfP or scan the QR code (Cantonese only). Harry哥哥好鄰居II