Professor Wilson H Tang, head of civil engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, shows off the state-of-the-art geotechnical centrifuge unveiled at the university this week. It will extend research capabilities into engineering topics such as landslides, loose-fill slopes, piling, tunnelling and undersea structures. The centrifuge can create up to 150 times the Earth's gravity, allowing it to simulate real-life conditions for small-scale models. It also contains the world's first bi-axial shaking table to study the effects of earthquakes on buildings and other structures, while a four-axis robotic manipulator can simulate activities such as piling. The laboratory will aid academic and government researchers, engineering students and local and overseas clients in industry.