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Lion Rock Daily: Innovation and Science to Fight Epidemic, a Win-win Situation for Government and Businesses

Roborn has developed an infrared thermal imaging body temperature detection robots, which have been used in the EMSD headquarters, the Correctional Services Department, the Transport Department and the LCSD. The EMSD platform helped Roborn to understand the needs of different customers, so that it can target those needs and improve the robot design.

(Below is a translation of the article)

Under the shadow of the novel coronavirus, the anti-epidemic technology has emerged. The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), which is responsible for all electrical and mechanical facilities of the SAR Government, including air-conditioning, electrical appliances, and elevators, has actively promoted relevant work since February. The then Director of EMSD Sit Wing Hang, who had just succeeded Yeung Wai Hung as the Director of the Innovation and Technology Bureau yesterday, said in an interview that EMSD’s special platform has collected 217 solutions for fighting against the epidemic from enterprises and universities, in which 80% of the solutions have application potential. A body temperature detection robot project was even tried first at the Leisure Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Correctional Services Department (CSD). It is hoped that the solutions can achieve a win-win situation in supporting the society to fight against the epidemic and promoting the development of innovative science and technology.

The outbreak of the epidemic has caused a huge change in the lives of Hong Kong citizens. Having their body temperatures taken before entering a restaurant has become a must-do action. Learning and taking classes are all done by one click on the Internet. Technology applications which were once unheard of has become an indispensable part when social distancing is necessary today. In order to make better use of science and technology for anti-epidemic, EMSD has added a special anti-epidemic topic page on its “E&M InnoPortal” since February, publishing a series of lists. The plan is to gather innovative solutions from tech enterprises and universities, then arranging suitable projects for trial in different government venues after screening.

The anti-epidemic theme page has received 217 program applications within 3 weeks of its launch. Sit described the response as very enthusiastic, with 93 of the applications are from the local area, and the rest are mainly from Mainland scientific research institutions. “Before a new technology is launched, it must go through the process of incubation, confirming, and commercializing etc. We hope to assist appropriate projects to connect with government sites for trials to obtain information on performance and reliability in a real environment. ” In other words, qualified products will be officially certified by the agency. “There is no interest or commercial consideration behind the government department. The test reports or certifications will give more credibility to the products and will help startups promote their products to the private market. ” He went on to say that the government department for trial can be the first user of the cutting-edge technology projects. Furthermore, it can be more effective in fighting against the epidemic, achieving a win-win situation.”

He shared that the Department will identify which technologies are suitable and mature enough in the above scheme. Afterwards, the projects will be matched with different government departments and scenes. Among them, a local technology company developed an infrared thermal imaging temperature detection robot, which has been tested in the headquarters building of EMSD, CSD, the Transport Department and the LCSD. “Most government departments only need temperature detection at the entrances. But for CSD, apart from its entrances, the prisoners inside will move around in different places every day. As for the License Office of the Transport Department, there are plenty of people gathering there all the time. The characteristics of different scenarios are challenges that the mobile temperature robot must overcome. “

Site testing meets challenges. Active acceptance shows commitment

All walks of life have been affected to varying degrees under the epidemic. Sit frankly stated that during this period of the EMSD promoting the testing of scientific and technological anti-epidemic programs on government sites, it is inevitable that it will encounter challenges including logistics service obstruction. With more work and pressure accumulated from the epidemic, government departments have to squeeze additional resources, manpower and space to test new technology products. It also shows the commitment towards supporting innovation technology. They hope to bring together the innovation and technology industry to fight against the epidemic.

On the other hand, out of the 217 applications, a certain number of them belonged to Mainland science and technology machinery companies. Sit pointed out that with the logistics services blocked in the epidemic situation, it is also difficult to ship products to the EMSD for inspection. However, the department has been processing them actively.

Trial Conduction Helps Perfect Robot. Department Has High Efficiency

The mobile body temperature detection robot is a project developed by a local tech company; EMSD contacted the company through the online portal and Cyberport. The project leader Poon Ka Yeung said EMSD’s platform helped them understand the needs of different clients. They can then target at those needs and perfect the design of the robot. “For example, when we went to the LCSD, we saw elderly people, children, and wheelchair users, which inspired us to add the function of extending and lowering the robot lens. Another example is that people in large groups are prone to overlapping, so the camera also needs to rotate to the left and right for the best position. ” These improvements are all made because of actual site testing.”The other team leader Mak Hin Yu continued by saying that the team contacted EMSD at the end of February. They went to the EMSD headquarters on 2nd March for primary review. By the 5th they were already arranged to conduct trials at CSD. On the 9th and 10th, they went to the Transport Department and LCSD respectively. The efficiency was surprisingly high.

Source: Lion Rock Daily