UG Summer Research Experience at MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node

Sponsored by PolyU’s UG Summer Research Abroad Sponsorship Scheme (USRA), six COMP students participated in a 6-week summer research programme at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node from 15 June to 30 July 2021. USRA is a signature student learning scheme, which aims to provide financial support to encourage students to undertake research under the guidance and supervision of academics in overseas pre-eminent universities.

The core part of this summer research programme was to first identify a real-world problem related to “Smart City” and proposed solutions. Geng Longling and Liu Yunfei (BSc (Hons) in Computing, Year 2) teamed up with Lam Long-ting (BSc (Hons) in Computing, Year 3) as well as a secondary school student to work on a “Smart Traffic Light System”. Smart traffic lights are one of many smart city initiatives that use advanced technology to improve the management of city services and the quality of life for citizens. The traffic lights are based on a dynamic algorithm that can control the lights based on the population and vehicles density. “By working with MIT people, I have a chance to exchange ideas with the most intelligent brains in the world. I was inspired by their awesome ideas and I realised that I need to reconsider my previous ways of thinking,” Yunfei said.

Cao Qun, Xu Ying (BSc (Hons) in Computing, Year 3) and Muhammad Shoaib (BSc (Hons) in Enterprise Information Systems, Year 4) worked on other three projects and one of them was “The Supermarket Navigation System”. With the indoor navigation algorithm, customers can search the products they would like to purchase and the system will send the optimal path to the customers so that they can locate the products in the supermarket easily and efficiently. “The experience at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node was extremely enriching,” Muhammad shared. “I have learned a lot about IoT and Android app development.”

By the end of the programme, students had to give presentations at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) in front of a panel of IoT experts who gave valuable comments and professional advice. During this research internship, participants could gain not only technical knowledge but also teamwork and soft skills.


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