Bold ideas make a positive world impact

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Professor Philip C H Chan

“For decades, PolyU’s researchers have been scaling new heights in knowledge creation. The university has built up high-impact interdisciplinary research areas and cutting-edge research infrastructure to support its promising advances.”

Professor Philip C H Chan
Interim President, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

At The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), world-class researchers are committed to turning innovations into significant contributions.

Recently, PolyU technologies backed up the world’s first mission to land on the far side of the Moon with China’s Chang’e 4 lunar probe. This project involved the development of a Camera Pointing System and the lunar topographic mapping and geomorphological analysis technique in landing site characterisation.

A research team from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics created high-precision and high-resolution topographic models at the potential landing region for the Chang’e 4. The team also analysed the terrain and geology of that region to help put forward an evidence-based proposal of the possible landing sites.

Another team of experts from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering jointly developed the Camera Pointing System with the China Academy of Space Technology. Mounted on the upper part of the lander of Chang’e 4, the system is deployed for capturing images of the moon and facilitating movement of the lunar rover.

At only 85 cm long, 27 cm wide, 16 cm deep and weighing just 2.8 kg, this gadget is capable of moving vertically by 120 degrees and rotating sideways by 350 degrees. This first Hong Kong-made and developed instrument being deployed for China’s lunar exploration program is able to withstand the vast difference in temperature and function in the Moon’s gravity.

These two teams will also make contributions to China’s upcoming Chang’e 5 lunar project and the first mission to explore Mars.

Camera Pointing System

PolyU’s experts not only break new ground in space, but also create technological advancement on earth. The advanced fibre optic sensing system developed at the university is deployed in rail networks, in China and overseas, to monitor railway operation for continuous surveillance and rapid maintenance.

The system can gather real-time data on vibrations, acceleration and temperature changes in monitoring the condition of tracks and railcars and the structural health of the rail foundation.

The specially designed sensors, working in conjunction with fibre-optic cables that run along the rails, provide a considerable amount of information to determine when repairs are needed to keep the rail system running at peak efficiency and to report on factors affecting a train’s performance.

Tiny sensors are built inside optical fibres to monitor the railway over long distance.