Winning robot to help fight pollution

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2006, 12:00am

An underwater robotic vehicle has won a technology design competition.

The robot can carry out inspections and collect samples of water under the sea.

With his supervisors looking on, Justin Chan Yiu-ting proudly demonstrated how his winning robotic design works.

He is the champion of the Technology, Environmental Protection and Innovation Competition organised by Metro City, Tseung Kwan O.

Justin is a final-year student in the department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management at the City University of Hong Kong.

The competition was open to local primary, secondary and university students.

It aimed to encourage young people to make use of cutting-edge technology to improve the environment.

Justin's robotic vehicle is made of aluminium and propelled by four powerful engines. It can move against even the strongest underwater currents.

The vehicle detects poisonous substances in sea water through a semi-permeable membrane.

Justin installed a laptop computer and a webcam inside the vehicle.

This means he can drive the machine by remote control and monitor the sea water quality from dry land.

The 22-year-old inventor's ingenious design will certainly help to combat the problem of water pollution in Hong Kong.

A keen participant in science competitions, Justin developed a passion for robots when he was a child.

'I have always been fascinated by robotics.

'But my robotic designs are not only a labour of love. They can also help people protect the environment,' Justin said.

Justin was asked what inspired him to create his invention. He said that hearing so much depressing news about water pollution in Hong Kong prompted him to take action.

'Alarming news stories about our worsening sea water quality, and frequent reports of food poisoning made me want to do something about the problem.

'I hope that my design can help scientists learn more about pollution in the ocean and its impact on marine life.'

Justin also thanked his two supervisors, Dr Luk Bing-lam and Dr Louis Liu King-pui, for supporting him throughout the project.

The two professors are overseeing his next project. Justin is currently working on designing a robot that can detect leaks in gas pipes.

It seems that the young inventor is determined to use his knowledge and creativity to improve people's quality of life.