Research projects

HKU’s innovative research projects triumph at the special 2022 Inventions Geneva Evaluation Days

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) won a total of 11 awards during the special 2022 Inventions Geneva Evaluation Days. Research teams from Faculties of Architecture, Dentistry, Engineering and Science and Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine won 4 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 1 bronze medal with their inventions during the event.

As one of the most prestigious innovation fairs, the Geneva International Inventions Fair (IEIG) is a remarkable annual global event dedicated exclusively to inventions and innovations. This year’s competition was held in a virtual format in March 2022, where more than 780 inventions from 25 countries and regions were evaluated by a panel of professional judges from around the world. The results were announced yesterday (March 28).

HKU has received a total of 40 awards, including three prestigious gold medals with congratulations from the jury and another 15 gold medals since its first participation in the event in 2018.

HKU’s award-winning inventions in 2022:-

Gold medals

1. Large-area and rapidly reconfigurable interference lithography nanopatterning platform

This new nanolithography technology is capable of reducing the processing time and cost of large-area nanopatterning by more than 10 times compared to the best electron beam etchers. It adopts fast reconfigurable beam delivery, active phase stabilization and computer-controlled automation, and enables wafer-scale high-throughput patterning of 1D and 2D nanostructures with feature sizes of up to 40 n. With high efficiency and low manufacturing cost, the large-area periodic nanostructures patterned by this technology have great potential in the fields of AR displays, meta-optics, biomedical sensing, solar cells and LEDs. This technology was developed by Dr. Wen-Di Li, Ph.D. student Mr. Zhuofei Gan and other team members from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the HKU Faculty of Engineering.

2. A customizable manhole sampling robot for wastewater monitoring

Unlike the traditional bulky automatic sampling device, the Customizable Manhole Sampling Robot is small in size and can be installed inside a manhole, reducing the labor involved and the impact on the traffic when collecting wastewater data. After installation, the device will automatically collect wastewater samples and allow customizable monitoring of sampling activities and real-time feedback collection via the mobile app and Narrowband Internet of Things (NB -IoT). This device has been widely used in Hong Kong and enabled city-wide sewage monitoring to help control the COVID-19 pandemic. It was developed by Prof. Tong Zhang and the HKU Civil Engineering Team together with the Department of Drainage Services and the Department of Environmental Protection.

3. 3D Printed Reef Tile

Using robotic 3D printing technology and eco-friendly terracotta materials, the project creates suitable habitats for endangered corals using artificial reef slabs to enhance coral survival. This new method of artificial reef tiles will help restore corals and conserve biodiversity more effectively, and will become a vital contribution to ongoing global efforts to save degraded coral reef systems. It was developed by a research team led by Professor David Baker of the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, HKU. (Ref)

4. Light-triggered drug delivery system

This system delivers drug molecules specifically to intraocular disease sites and works in conjunction with green light for effective treatment of retinoblastoma. This treatment strategy shows promise in safer and more effective treatment of retinoblastoma and other eye diseases due to its nature of avoiding administration of conventional invasive intravitreal drugs. It was developed by a research team led by Dr. Weiping Wang from Dr. Li Dak-Sum Research Center and Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, LKS Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong. (Ref)

Silver medals

1. Anti-Covid-19 stainless steel

It is the first anti-Covid-19 stainless steel with Cu-rich precipitates permanently present in the SS matrix with long-term anti-Covid property, which can inactivate SARS-Cov-2 on steel surfaces stainless. This new invention not only helps in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but can also replace some of the frequently touched stainless steel products in public spaces, such as elevator buttons and door handles, using technologies existing powder metallurgy for mass production. The invention was developed by Professor Mingxin Huang and Mr. Litao Liu from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, and Dr. Alex Wing Hong Chin, Assistant Research Professor and Professor Leo Lit Man Poon from the School of Health Public, Faculty of Medicine, HKU. (Ref)

2. Disinfection robot

This autonomous disinfection robot uses a combination of automatic robot programming, autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance, sensor-based robot control, and novel drives and structure to achieve effective disinfection in a short time. Its robot arm brings UVC light closer to the surface of the object while maintaining an appropriate distance to achieve 99.5% disinfection in just a few seconds, enabling rapid disinfection of a large area. The friendly graphical user interface allows a user to select a disinfection area based on video images and automatically generate robot trajectories to perform the disinfection operation. The invention was developed by Professor Ning Xi from the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering of HKU’s Faculty of Engineering. (Ref)

3. Nanodiamonds (NDs) purification method and application for oral hygiene

Salt-Assisted Air Oxidation (SAAO) treatment is a method of purifying Nano Diamonds (NDs) and removes unwanted parts of NDs to achieve a clean surface not easily achievable by conventional salt-assisted oxidation approach. ‘air. It has been proven that ND after SAAO can work as an effective agent against bacteria and fungi which is highly relevant in oral and systemic infections. SAAO was developed by Dr. Zhiqin Chu, Assistant Professor and Tongtong Zhang from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, HKU. (Ref)

4. Micro Mist Scale Mouthguard Cleaner

This is a new 3D printable multi-micro-brum mouthguard design for precise initial plaque removal for the elderly or disabled. The plaque cleaning device uses a dental polymer 3D printing technique combined with a customized mouth guard, which can generate a micro-scale mist precisely for the removal of initial dental plaque in the gums and areas. interdental. The minimal use of water during the process reduces the risk of aspiration, while the device improves the user’s physical and psychological health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, heart and kidney disease caused by oral bacteria . It was invented by Dr. James Kit-hon Tsoi, Associate Professor and his team, from the Faculty of Dentistry, HKU. (Ref)

5. Non-contact, radiation-free device that precisely locates multiple implants in a patient’s body

A system with a handheld device comprised of non-contact, radiation-free mobile sensing technology accurately visualizes the 3D location of orthopedic surgical implants within the patient’s body. The system-generated 3D imaging model, compared to previous models used in lengthening sessions for children with scoliosis, enables rapid treatment plan updating and timely warning of mechanical defects of the implant to improve the efficiency and safety of the surgery. It was developed by the research team of Dr. Weichen Qi, Professor Jason Pui Yin Cheung, and Dr. Teng Grace Zhang from the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, HKU Medical School.

6. Nucleic acid aptamers for malaria diagnosis

This invention uses DNA aptamers that recognize two important biomarkers of malaria and can be applied to the clinical diagnosis of malaria through integration with a microfluidic system that can be observed with mobile devices. Being easily synthesized and manufactured, aptamers can serve as a more robust and less expensive alternative to antibodies. It was developed by a research team led by Professor Julian A. Tanner of the School of Biomedical Sciences, HKU School of Medicine.

Bronze medal

1. PD1-based vaccine for cancer infection and cure by potentiating host immunity

The PD-1 vaccine targets the antigen to dendritic cells to enhance antibody and CD8+ T cell responses. By developing a novel PD1-based active immunization against viral infection and cancer under prophylactic and therapeutic conditions, it provides prolonged control of cancer and viral infection by enhancing host immunity. It was developed by the research team of Prof. Chen Zhiwei, Dr. Zhou Jingying, Dr. Tan Zhiwu, Dr. Wong Yik Chun, Prof. Chen Honglin, Prof. Yuen Kwok Yung and Dr. Liu Li from the Department of Microbiology from HKU Faculty of Medicine.

Participation was coordinated by the Technology Transfer Office of the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

For more details on the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions, visit:

About Technology Transfer Office, HKU

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) manages the use of Hong Kong University (HKU) intellectual property assets by providing patents, licenses and other commercialization support to University researchers. Acting as a bridge connecting HKU to society in the area of ​​technology commercialization, TTO enables industries and businesses to access HKU’s powerhouse of knowledge, innovation and expertise through close collaboration. Website: