HKU Annual Report 2023

37 36 HKU ANNUAL REPORT 2023 ACHIEVING IMPACT A team from the iLab in the Faculty of Architecture won a gold and silver award at the international 2023 IEEE / CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, outmatching teams from other leading universities around the world. The conference had a competition to see which algorithms could most accurately reconstruct an existing building from scanned data. The HKU team, led by Dr Frank Xue, won gold in the category Scan-to-BIM 3D for their AI-based method to create a 3D BIM model, and silver for converting a point cloud scan into a 2D architectural drawing. BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, which lets architects and surveyors create a complete and detailed digital model of a building, including furniture and appliances. “There is an urgent need for Scan-to-BIM algorithms and software, which not only perform the entire process much faster, but are also much more accurate than current methods,” Dr Xue said. Postdoctoral fellow Dr Qian Yuqi in the Department of Earth Sciences has led the first team in Hong Kong to obtain a lunar soil sample for study. The achievement comes on the back of his earlier work that argued volcanic activity happened on the moon more recently than previously believed. The area Dr Qian pinpointed was the landing site of the Chinese lunar probe Chang’e-5 in 2020 and scientists have confirmed his prediction, reshaping the understanding of lunar history. Earlier this year, he obtained approval to retrieve a lunar soil sample collected by the Chang’e-5 probe, weighing 822.6 milligrams, which was then brought to HKU for further study. “This is a dream come true for us and Hong Kong’s space science community. We hope to reveal the secrets of the moon and gain insights into the early Earth, which could have important implications for our understanding of the solar system and beyond,” he said. Artificial intelligence technology developed by Dr Wilton Fok’s team in the Sports AI Laboratory of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering was awarded two special grand prizes (Invention & Innovation CAI Award and Prize of the Delegation of Malaysia) and a gold medal at the 48th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions in April. The Glance and Focus AI Anomalies Detection technology can analyse human posture and movements via real-time video to identify anomalies such as falls, fainting, abuse, drowning or criminal behaviour. It can be deployed to provide timely alerts for rescue efforts and help prevent accidents. The team have also received funding from the government’s Smart Traffic Fund to explore the use of thermal images in analysing pedestrian movements at traffic light junctions and determine if individuals in need, such as the elderly, children, or disabled, can be given an extended flashing green time to cross the road and enhance road safety. The team members include Dr Wu Yik Chung, Dr Qi Xiaojuan and Ms Carol Chen. To support work on epidemic preparedness, HKU, the University of Cambridge and the International Vaccine Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the international headquarters of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute (HKJCGHI) at HKUMed. The HKJCGHI will focus on pandemic preparedness, translating research into preventive interventions such as vaccines, and advancing the access, equity and affordability of such interventions with the aid of global research support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Separately, Professor Yuen Kwok Yung, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases of the Department of Microbiology established the Global Pandemic Research Alliance with virologist Professor David Ho of Columbia University and experts from institutes in Mainland China, Australia and Singapore, to conduct research on emerging infectious diseases. Professor Yuen also signed an MOU with the Shanghai Institute of Infectious Disease and Biosecurity on innovative drug development for infectious diseases. Furthermore, his team’s 2020 research paper documenting the first human-to-human transmission of the virus causing COVID-19 was named by The Lancet as one of 34 landmark papers in the journal’s entire 200-year history. ANTI-VIRAL LEADERS AI ALGORITHMS FOR ARCHITECTURE LUNAR LEADER TECHNOLOGY TO DETECT FALLS, ABUSE AND OTHER ANOMALIES HKU, the University of Cambridge and the International Vaccine Institute signed an MoU on November 15, 2023, with the aid of global research support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, to establish the Hong Kong Jockey Club Global Health Institute. Dr Frank Xue (second from left) and the iLab team. From left: HKU microbiologist Professor Yuen Kwok Yung, acclaimed Columbia University virologist Professor David Ho and HKU Dean of Medicine Professor Lau Chak Sing. Dr Qian Yuqi’s team obtained approval from the China National Space Administration’s Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Centre to study the lunar soil samples. From left: Dr Alfred Tan, Deputy Director of Technology Transfer Office; Ms Carol Chen, Project Manager; Dr Wilton Fok, Director of Sports AI Laboratory; Professor Anderson Shum, HKU Associate Vice-President (Research and Innovation). Real-time detection of falls from thermal images.