September 2018  
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Nanobots – future surgeons inside the human body
Over the past few decades, performing complicated operations inside the human’s vascular system and other cavities has been a huge challenge for surgeons across the globe. That is why a surprising number of scientists have put much effort into creating practical medical nano-robots. With a great deal of experimentation and some trial and error, this goal has been achieved with honours in Hong Kong.

Inspired by swarming behaviour in the natural world, Prof Zhang Li, the Associate Professor of the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), led his team to conduct research into nanobots, in the form of millions of magnetic nanoparticles. This research is funded by Innovation and Technology Commission, Hong Kong Research Grants Council and CUHK T Stone Robotics Institute.

Throughout the research process, Zhang’s team considered “miniaturisation” as a key in designing a nano-robot. The batteries of robots could be made very fine; however, other electronic components like controllers and sensors are not so easy to reduce in size. This limits the robots’ ability to get through the hard-to-navigate spaces in human body.

With this concern in mind, Zhang’s team deployed a different approach towards “miniaturisation”. It used a Rapidly Oscillating Magnetic Field, which was emitted by a peripheral coil, to change the shape and direction of millions of nanoparticles at the same time. By tuning the amplitude and frequency of the magnetic field, the microscopic swarm made up of these nanoparticles can be made to split up, re-join and even move through a maze.

The team hopes to apply the magnetic microswarm technique to treat diseases in the vascular system, such as stroke. At this moment, the team is working hard to overcome different kinds of problems. For instance, the magnetic nanoparticles can only move in a two-dimensional space whilst the human blood vessel is a three-dimensional structure. In addition, the nanoparticles are always engulfed by the white blood cells inside the human body.

Notwithstanding some challenges, Prof Zhang feels optimistic and anticipates that nanobots will definitely enter the mainstream medical market within five to ten years.

bumb ITC Highlights
Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive, and Mr Wang Zhigang, the Minister of Science and Technology, witnessed the signing of the "Arrangement on Enhancing Innovation and Technology (I&T) Cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong" and the "Agreement on Commencing Jointly Funded Projects between the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Innovation and Technology Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government" on September 20.
The 51st Joint School Science Exhibition (JSSE) was successfully held from August 22 to 27, 2018. This annual exhibition aims at promoting public interest in science, fostering a healthy exchange of scientific knowledge, and encouraging experience-sharing among local secondary schools and international students.
The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), supported by the Innovation and Technology Commission, launched two facilities equipped with locally developed technologies on September 3.
pulse I&T Market Pulse
To attract and nurture more technology talent across Hong Kong, the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) launched the “Technology Talent Scheme” (TTS) on August 22 on a pilot basis for five years.
Upcoming I&T Events
  1. "InnoTech Month 2018" will be held from October 20 to December 7. A series of roadshows, exhibitions, workshops, guided tours, talks, conferences, seminars will be hosted for the public and industry players. The first stop of roadshows will be held on October 20 and 21 at Kai Tin Shopping Centre, Lam Tin. While the highlighted event “InnoCarnival 2018” will be held from November 3 to 11 at Hong Kong Science Park. More details will be available at the InnoTech Month website soon.
  2. LSCM Logistics Summit 2018 will be held on October 5 at Hong Kong Science Park. As a key event of the Logistics and Supply Chain MultiTech R&D Centre (LSCM), the summit will bring together government officials, industry practitioners and representatives from related fields to explore and share inspiring insights, form collaboration opportunities and build business network. Please click here for more details.
  3. The Innovation and Technology Commission invites Hong Kong residents of Chinese nationality with significant achievements in science and technology to submit entries for the 2019 State Technological Invention Award (STIA) and the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award (SSTPA). The STIA and SSTPA are two award categories under the State Science and Technology Awards administered by the State Council. Entries for the 2019 STIA and SSTPA in Hong Kong will close on October 15, 2018. Please click here for details.
Enquiries & Comments
Innovation and Technology Commission
21/F, West Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong.

email : enquiry@itc.gov.hk
tel : (852) 3655 5856
fax : (852) 2730 4633
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