Venom may be one of Spider-Man’s greatest nemeses, but the alien symbiote who can stretch and deform itself has inspired scientists to create soft robots that could transform numerous aspects of medical care, from targeted drug delivery to minimally invasive surgery. Professor Zhang Li from CUHK decided to channel Venom’s superpowers into building soft robots based on ferrofluids and a new silicone elastomer, which can be deformed in ever more complex ways, making them capable of a growing range of functions within the human body.
These little white cars might look like toys at first glance. In fact, they are smart cars built with artificial intelligence (AI) features that can track human faces and colours. Developed by a research team from the CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future Project, the CUHK-JC iCar (iCar) gives students an opportunity to apply AI theory. The iCar is a simple, accessible device where students are in the “driver’s seat” via their ability to assemble with the attached mechanical tools and control the vehicle with simple programming, which gives students a unique way of combining study with play in the classroom.
What can you do with tape? Seal your package or to bind an injury? The uses of tape go much further than that in the hands of a CUHK Engineering professor who has devoted himself to medical robotics. By simply tattooing magnetised patterns onto tapes and using a magnetic field, a highly versatile “origami” soft robot is miraculously brought into being that can morph into a variety of 3D shapes - and behold, they have a future in medical and industrial applications.
In a flower garden, we have army of honeybees that swarm to defend enemies; in a tortuous human lumen, we have army of microrobots that swarm to carry drugs that attack maladies. CUHK engineering professors have devised an avant-garde AI system that lets these microrobots navigate like bees and change shape inside complex environments like human bodies.
Life in an extremely cold region without electricity for heating and lighting can be a miserable experience, especially as existing battery technologies cannot retain a reliable power supply in such cold weather. When winter storms sweep across cities, the power crisis they cause can leave millions of people without electricity. CUHK researchers are trying to fix that with a new technology that promises to bring stability to electrical storage, even at very low temperatures.
Is this Spiderman’s foe Venom in real life? Video of a slimy, mucus-like extraterrestrial creature has gone viral online. It could neither invade nor kill a human. It is in fact a soft miniature robot invented by CUHK Faculty of Engineering that performs medical tasks inside human body. This viscous robot behaves like an octopus to enclose and grasp small objects and moves through the narrows of the human digestive system under magnetic control. Now further tests are needed to ensure that the body will be absolutely protected, leading to human tests in five years.
When one has a mouth but cannot speak, it is a dreadful loss. But now AI can change that destiny. A CUHK Engineering professor has taken AI technology to another level to give a voice to those who are losing the power to communicate, by deploying text-to-speech technology and letting AI learn as much as possible about how one speaks, to preserve verbal identity after disease has taken the voice.
Gold is anti-inflammatory and has applications in the fields of jewelry, aviation, chemistry, and electronic circuit boards. Now researchers from CUHK Engineering have struck gold for psoriasis sufferers by developing a self-therapeutic gold nanoparticle that does not contain steroids and vitamin D analogs but has a similar effect, as proven in mice models. It was demonstrated that the gold nanoparticle could enter skin epidermal cells without causing hair loss and skin wrinkling.
loT is the key to building a smart city, in which sensors act as eyes and ears of the system to collect and convert physical variables into electronic signals for analysis. A self-powered wireless sensing e-sticker, thin as two human hairs, developed by CUHK, converts the power of a finger touch into electromagnetic wave signals to advance the smart sensing technology. Another discovery is a TENG with high power output to better harvest mechanical and biomechanical motion.
Surgical robots are commonly used in minimally invasive surgery and their accuracy holds the key to a successful operation. CUHK researchers have developed a world-first AI system with a novel deep learning method to optimise the gesture recognition of robots. The intelligent cognitive assistance not only allows robots to operate with greater precision for a safer surgery, but also wins patients’ trust in robotic surgery.
It is a tough task for an able bodied person to learn the violin, let alone someone without an arm. A multi-functional prosthetic with convertible adaptor developed by CUHK researchers gave hope to Roy who had lost his left arm and took him onto the stage in a concert given by a thousand-player orchestra, where he demonstrated his dream playing wonderful pieces of music.
The ocean is the largest energy treasure house on earth, covering approximately 70% of its surface. Harvesting this is called “blue energy” and it’s a solution to energy crisis. However, given its complex technology and high cost, electricity generation from blue energy isn’t easy. A CUHK research team has recently developed a high-efficacy generator for harnessing ocean wave energy, which turns a new page.