The everyday voice recognition technologies we use, such as Siri and speech-to-text functions, rely on the technology of speech recognition.
    Professor Lee Tan, from the Department of Electronic Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has dedicated over thirty years of research to the field of speech recognition, with a focus on Cantonese.
    Several years ago, his research team embarked on a new project: designing a "personalised voice programme" for patients with throat cancer who were about to lose their ability to speak. By combining speech synthesis technology with artificial intelligence, the team developed a programme that can read out text that resembles the patient's own.

    The inspiration for this research project originated from a post on an online discussion forum...


    • Tap to Plant

      Tap to Plant

      Gordon Tam, originally an architect and designer, crossed paths with Billy Lam, a coffee barista, due to their shared love for coffee. The two quickly bonded and decided to become urban farmers. Utilising technology, they established an indoor cultivation farm capable of growing nearly fifty diverse vegetable species in a soil-less, sunlight-free factory. Recently, they have also been exploring the implementation of hydroponic technology to cultivate traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.

      In a world grappling with severe weather conditions and mounting concerns about food security, could technology pave the way for a new direction in the agricultural industry?

    • Metaverse Beings

      Metaverse Beings

      The crossover of music and technology creates an infinite world of rapid changes. One person can create an entire world on their own.

      With rapid technological advancements, music is constantly evolving. Kenneth Chau, the founder of a music platform, has dedicated the past 15 years to developing music and technology. In an effort to expand human imagination, he strives to merge the two by creating locally designed virtual idols.

      There is a young girl group consisting of two members, each with their own virtual idol. As the girls dance to the music, their physical movements are captured through tight-fitting clothing and displayed on the internet in their virtual forms. No physical presence is required. With just virtual idols, the internet, and a venue in the Metaverse, singers can hold concerts from anywhere. This is not merely an online livestream! The key lies in image projection technology that broadcasts real-time 3D images of the singers. When physical movements are transformed into digital symbols, the performers become fluid, like water. They can travel through space one moment and be in a desert the next. The ethereal and ever-changing background constantly reshapes. Although physically separated, participants, each with their own avatars, can gather in the Metaverse venue to sing along with the performers or with everyone else in the venue. The Metaverse breaks down all physical barriers.

      Virtual idols are more than just "moving figures". Computer technology can mimic mouth movements and facial expressions as singers perform. However, the replicas do not always evoke the same emotions. Real life is filled with diverse sensations and desires. Can technology and computer programming truly recreate them all? Kenneth Chau is also seeking an answer.

      The concept of the Metaverse gradually transforms existing modes of human life and breaks down boundaries. Perhaps one day, every aspects of life, not only entertainment but also work, learning, shopping, and even grocery shopping can be done in the Metaverse, much like how the internet has become integrated into our lives today.

      The era of the Metaverse has just begun. Kenneth Chau is like a pioneer in the Metaverse, venturing into an unknown world where the line between virtuality and reality is blurred. The impacts of "the next stage of the internet" bring about confusion, but Kenneth Chau yearns for the infinite "Utopia" that the Metaverse represents. The brave explorer is moving towards an obscure destination. All he knows is that in the Metaverse, bodies are mere shadows, and everyone is equal. Perhaps people can have their avatars, break down the barriers around them, and sprint towards a boundless Utopia where freedom, inclusion, and mutual respect are fully embraced.

    • More Than a Warm Bento

      More Than a Warm Bento

      Wage earners in Hong Kong have little time for lunch, often spending a significant portion of it queuing for dine-in or takeaways. A local start-up has developed a bento vending machine with a patented hot-chain Internet-of-Things (IoT) system that keeps the food temperature above 60 degrees Celsius, aiming to provide warm bentos to workers.

      Jason Chen, born in the 1980s, studied in snowy Hokkaido as an exchange student during his college years. There, he encountered his mentor, Professor Wada, whose recommendation helped him enter the master's program in electronic engineering at the University of Tokyo. Jason named his company after his mentor.

      While studying in Japan, Jason had to be frugal and often bought discounted cold bentos from supermarkets before they closed. His modest dream for his company was to bring warmth to those who felt lonely. In 2008, Jason returned to Hong Kong and worked as a chip designer and electronic engineer at a semiconductor company, but he quit in 2019 to pursue his dream of starting a company before turning 40. The bento vending machine became his focus.

      The machine, developed by his team, utilises hot-chain FoodTech technology by employing heating components and a thermal cycling system to maintain the temperature inside the airtight storage space at 65 degrees Celsius, ensuring the bentos stay above 60 degrees Celsius. Customers can immediately enjoy their meals without reheating.

      Keeping the bentos warm and selling them through a vending machine is a complex process. Apart from maintaining the temperature inside the machine, the delivery mechanism must be carefully designed to avoid the bentos being knocked over or spilling.

      This year, the vending machines have been introduced to construction sites, presenting new challenges. Serving sizes had to be increased, and Hong Kong-style dishes like steamed pork patties were added. The team also had to overcome obstacles such as the remote locations of construction sites and installing machines in narrow passageways.

      Research and development go beyond experimentation and computations. Jason's vending machine aims to provide a sense of warmth through its bento, and his innovation story also adds a warm aspect to the field of scientific research.

    • My Mechanical Hero Dream

      My Mechanical Hero Dream

      Mark Mak, since his childhood, has had a passion for building robotic models and dreaming of using robots to defend the Earth. He pursued his dream by studying electronic engineering in university. After experiencing the SARS epidemic in 2003, he conceived the idea of using robots to replace medical personnel in risky tasks.
      Driven by his emotional attachment to robots, Mark developed a robotic arm and motion-sensing humanoid robots. He won a major award at an innovation and technology competition in the Greater Bay Area and established his company in the region.

      By the end of 2018, Mark had formed a strategic partnership with leading mainland telecommunications companies and developed China's first 5G motion control humanoid robot. This robot could mimic human body movements by receiving instructions through a control system. The 5G motion control robot not only earned Mark multiple awards but also accompanied national leaders on trips along countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, including Africa.

      Mark envisions a future where traditional high-risk industries like bomb disposal, high-voltage cable maintenance, and spray painting can be delegated to robots. Operators can remotely control robots indoors to complete tasks. However, when the global COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Mark immediately utilised his core technology to develop various anti-epidemic robots, including outdoor disinfection robots, UV disinfection robots, remote diagnosis robots, and ICU equipment control robots.

      As a Hong Kong native and driven by his strong connection to the city, Mark decided to move the research and development headquarters back to Hong Kong, while retaining two offices in Qianhai and Jiangmen. "I hope to prove that Hong Kong people have the capability to develop robots," he said. His next plan is to research robots for elderly care, aiming to innovate and assist people, continuing the pursuit of Hong Kong's robotic dream.

    • Heartfelt Secrets of the Sea Cucumber

      Heartfelt Secrets of the Sea Cucumber

      In everyday life, many beautiful things are not inherently present but hidden within the ordinary. They require exploration, refinement, and polishing to reveal their brilliance.
      During festive occasions in Hong Kong, many dining tables are adorned with delicacies. Among the dishes, sea cucumber is a key ingredient. Sea cucumbers are generally regarded as traditional health food, and when looking at those dark, plump sea cucumbers, one might only think of their benefits as edibles. But who would have thought that this unremarkable creature could be associated with "beauty"?

      Two young women who were born at the 90s work at a local biotech company that produces sea cucumber health products. Two years ago, they had a sudden idea: to create sea cucumber skincare products that would transition it from the dining table to the vanity. Their primary task was to make the insoluble sea cucumber collagen protein absorbable by the skin.

      Arey Chiu, a graduate in ecology from the University of Hong Kong, with a scientific background, crossed paths with Lavinia Tsui, who is well-versed in online marketing. These two girls aimed to promote marine research-based skincare products and educate customers with practical and scientific skincare knowledge.
      How did they support each other and grow together on their entrepreneurial journey, radiating their brilliance, and always staying true to themselves?

    • "Reclaiming" Voices

      The everyday voice recognition technologies we use, such as Siri and speech-to-text functions, rely on the technology of speech recognition.
      Professor Lee Tan, from the Department of Electronic Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has dedicated over thirty years of research to the field of speech recognition, with a focus on Cantonese.
      Several years ago, his research team embarked on a new project: designing a "personalised voice programme" for patients with throat cancer who were about to lose their ability to speak. By combining speech synthesis technology with artificial intelligence, the team developed a programme that can read out text that resembles the patient's own.

      The inspiration for this research project originated from a post on an online discussion forum...

    • The Ingenious World of Neuroscience

      The Ingenious World of Neuroscience

      Dementia remains an incurable condition, with current treatments only able to slow down its progression. Driven by dedication, medical scientist Owen Ko is determined to develop more effective therapies for delaying dementia caused by cerebral small vessel disease. Whether conducting scientific research or planning his own life journey, he chooses to traverse a winding and arduous path.

      While most medical students aspire to become doctors, Owen took a different route. After completing two years of medical foundational courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), he shifted his focus to neurophysiology research and spent four years in the United Kingdom to pursue a doctoral degree before returning to CUHK to complete the remaining medical courses, equipping himself as a medical scientist.

      In 2016, Owen established his own laboratory. His research team analysed clinical data and conducted animal experiments, discovering that the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists, a type of diabetes medication, may slow down the progression of cerebral small vessel disease. They have now begun clinical trials, bringing hope for the development of future treatments to delay cerebral small vessel disease.

      Although some may see Owen's laboratory as relatively new, his research has been published in prestigious scientific journals, and he has achieved recognition in the field of medicine. However, he often doubts his own intelligence and whether he can make significant contributions to human health.

      With the mindset of a scientist and the compassion of a doctor, Owen continues to explore the intricate realm of neuroscience, while nurturing aspiring researchers to pursue the same goal.

    • Beyond


      What methods exist for treating cancer? This question drives countless scientists worldwide, including Dr Carmen Wong, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong. Inspired by Nobel laureate Gregg Semenza, she delves into the unique metabolic mechanisms of liver cancer cells, studying how they utilise different fuels and metabolic pathways to adapt and grow in hypoxic environments. Her goal is to uncover ways to inhibit liver cancer cells and apply them in the treatment of other cancers. In 2022, Carmen and her research team successfully analysed the genetic mutation profiles of liver cancer patients, identifying which category of patients would respond effectively to immunotherapy, marking a significant stride towards precise treatments.

      Throughout her seventeen-year research career, Carmen has received recognition in the academic field. She was awarded the Hong Kong Young Scientist Award by the Hong Kong Institution of Science in 2009 and secured the National Natural Science Foundation of China's Excellent Young Scientists Fund in 2020. However, as her accomplishments grow, so does the pressure she puts on herself. As a mother of twin daughters, Carmen also faces the challenge of balancing her family and work life. She is grateful for her husband, Dr Jack Wong, who shares her passion for liver cancer research and serves as her closest ally.

      Time is limited, but knowledge is boundless. This documentary takes us into the world of Carmen, a female scientist, to discover how she embraces curiosity and relentlessly pursues breakthroughs in her scientific journey while navigating the complexities of being a daughter, wife, and mother.

    • Treasure Hunting in Big Data

      Treasure Hunting in Big Data

      Dr. Eric Wan humorously admits that he didn't enjoy studying when he was younger but found his passion in mathematics. In the world of numbers, with its objectivity and established solutions, he has always been fascinated. During the summer holiday of his secondary school year, Eric's father, who worked in the construction industry, took him to intern at a construction site. Since then, he embarked on a journey of introspection and exploration for his future path.

      The realm of big data became his stage, where he currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care (conjointly affiliated with the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy) at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Medicine. Driven by his expertise in data analysis, he seeks answers to medical enigmas.

      Dr Eric Wan is the Co-Principal Investigator of the InnoHK@HKUMed Laboratory of Data Discovery for Health. He was awarded the national Excellent Young Scientists Fund for Hong Kong and Macau in 2022, providing him with further opportunities to pursue related research endeavors.

    • From Fashion to Innovation

      From Fashion to Innovation

      “In medical products, apart from functionality, can we make patients feel less like patients when wearing them? Making oneself feel beautiful and fashionable in all aspects!" Medical and scientific products often prioritize functionality and practicality. However, Joanne, who has always had a penchant for aesthetics and fashion, believes that combining functionality with comfort and aesthetics can attract patients to wear them.

      Joanne Yip, the Associate Dean of the School of Fashion and Textiles at the Polytechnic University, has been dedicated to integrating textile and fashion technologies with innovative science research for over a decade.

      In 2011, she embarked on a project to develop functional undergarments aimed at improving scoliosis. The motivation behind her research stemmed from personal experiences in her daily life, as she learned about the discomfort and inconvenience faced by a colleague's daughter who had to wear cumbersome and restrictive plastic braces for scoliosis correction. Driven by the desire to create a comfortable and breathable solution, Joanne's journey led to the development of various products, including the posture correction girdle and recent innovations such as the smart tank-top and scoliosis correction girdle. These advancements aim to prevent the deterioration of early-onset scoliosis in adolescents.

      Recently, Joanne Yip and her research team have been working on the development of AI-assisted training gear, which combines exercise training with real-time muscle monitoring. This innovative gear aims to enhance the coaching experience.

      As an Associate Dean of the School, Joanne not only focuses on her research work but also juggles the responsibilities of teaching and family life. How does she navigate these challenges and turn her innovative concepts into successful endeavours?