Industry 4.0: New Frontiers for Manufacturing

Industry 4.0: New Frontiers for Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 is not only about computers and automation, it applies to Cyber Physical System and Industry Operations.  Both Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud computing are necessary in order to progress to Industry 4.0:


Gerald Wong, CEO of Cambridge Industries Group, the company was incepted in 2005 as a boostrapped startup, is in the ICT industry, innovation driven, and R&D intensive.

CIG – Shanghai, China and Santa Clara, CA:

R&D in telecom access products:
– Optical (fiber to the home)
– Wireless (Wi-Fi systems and LTE femtocells)
– Home switches and IoT gateway devices

R&D in manufacturing technologies:
– Industry Information Technologies
– Industry Automation Technologies

He highlighted the four driving forces for the Evolution to Industry 4.0.

  1. Strategic Directions: Industry 4.0, Manufacture 2025, etc.
  2. Innovations and Technologies: Automation Technologies, Industry Information Technologies, Other Advanced Technologies, etc.
  3. Operational and Practical: Staying Competitive, Overcoming Cost Challenges, Overcoming Labor Challenges, etc.
  4. The Profound Impact on the Future: Corporate Social Responsibilities, People’s Desires for Quality of Life and Quality of Work, etc.

In the internet era, the competition between countries and companies continue to become more intense, competing on various kinds of costs and overall efficiency.  The desire for “Mass Customization” may arise, as high manufacturing agility and flexibility are required. Labour issues may happen, robots may replace some human jobs, unemployment rate may increase eventually.

For example, the labour costs in Shanghai increased 110% in the last 8 years, industry 4.0 can reduce the variable costs for factories while fix costs is required for installation of machineries.  This is attractive as factories are willing to have a higher net profit in future financial statements.

In Industry 4.0, we have:
– Autonomous Robots, Automation integrated
– CPS – IIoT Connected, Wireless Data Acquisition
– Cloud Computing
– Big Data Analytics
– Cyber Security
– Simulation (“Digital Twin”)
– Augmented Reality (VR for manufacturing)

which have a profound impact, as the new industry revolution is unavoidable, efficiency and quality have significantly improved, and so is the positioning for global manufacturing.



Weiping Huang, the Chairman of Qingdao Hisense Broadband Multimedia Technologies, discussed the progression of microelectronics – transistors’ density have been increasing for the past 40 years.  Besides, Vertical Integration Strategy is commonly used by technology companies, he says that many companies involved are in more than one stage of production. His company handles the whole production process, i.e. from Chip to Box.  The Photonics Value-Chain contains Chip, TO, OSA, Module, Box, mastering this value-chain can make the production process more efficient with lower production costs.


Chia-Peng Day, General Manager of Automation Technology Development Committee, Foxconn, introduced System Integrated Robots for Assembly.  The flexible automated assembly line is combined by a family of small robots, Integrated machine vision, Smart tools & grippers for small parts assembly, Precision Parts feeders & fixtures and Precision workpiece transport platform.  China is progressing towards a new initiative – “Made in China 2025” – transforming the country into an advanced manufacturing powerhouse, it requires fast development in three major technologies: Cloud, Big Data and IoT.  


Duncan Turner, Managing Director of HAX states that Shenzhen is a good place for technology innovation as the place has a large talent pool of engineers.  Besides, he also mentioned that technology is embedded everywhere,  the new trend for wearable devices is that they are capable of detecting body movements.


Applying Internet of Things to Health Science

Applying Internet of Things to Health Science

I have the privilege to attend EmTech Hong Kong 2016 on June 7 and 8.  The event is organised by MIT Technology Review and Koelnmesse.  It covers some of the most important emerging technologies including robotics, blockchains, mobile technology and manufacturing 4.0.  Many of the speakers are founders of start-ups who are eager to bring advanced technology to the mass market.  What particularly excites me is that several speakers are from the health care industry.  From them I see a convergence of internet of things and health care that will have significant impact on our quality of life.

A body is nothing but a giant machine, connected by neurones, controlled by electrical signals generated by the brain.  Prof. Charles Sodini from MIT is researching technologies to monitor electrical signals from our brain, our heart and blood vessels.  The major advantage is that the technologies are non-intrusive.  By placing small sensors on our bodies, the hospital or medical centres can monitor our body functioning on a continuous and real time basis.  Combined with the advance in data analytics, many fatal diseases can be prevented.  Better cure can be invented.  Currently we have wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit.  But their application is quite limited.  Imagine a world that you body is monitored by medical professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Prevention is allays better than cure.




Sleeping disorder is a major problem to many people.  However, the problems are often hard to detect as it requires a monitoring of a patient’s sleep pattern and it can only be done at a dedicated facility.  Shazam Gollakota, co-founder of Jeeva Wireless, discusses using your mobile phone to monitor your sleep.  By sending out a low frequency signal from your mobile phone, your phone can actually function as a motion sensor.  Again, then the data can be sent directly to medical centre for diagnosis.

With an ageing population, there has been a big push to develop bionics/exoskeletions that can help seniors to walk and move better.  Japan and Germany are leaders in this field.  In japan, the technology is deemed essential as they face a declining population and the Government wants to extend the working age of their people as much as possible.  In the US, exoskeleton development is  heavily funded by the military with the goal of creating better soldiers.  However, while exoskeleton is already here, it is quite expensive.  Homayoon Kazerooni, Founder and CEO of suitX, has a passion to apply the technology to not only the seniors, but those workers involved in heavy lifting and to the disabled.  While the technology is developed in the US, the manufacturing is done in Shanghai.  By lowering the manufacturing cost, it is hoped that more people can enjoy the benefits.  I am particularly impressed by Mr. Kazerooni because like me, he was an ex-academic.  Mr. Kazeronni shows the successful transition from academic to business.




Technology is always disruptive.  It strives to cut cost and improve efficiency.  It cuts out the middle persons.  Health care is certainly ready to be transformed by technology.


Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the Implications for the Enterprise

Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the Implications for the Enterprise

EmTech (MIT Technology Review) Conference invited interesting speakers from Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning (IDL), Insights Robotics, Universal Robotics, and In The Making:

Mike North

Mike North, the Host of In The Making, presented the BOOMcast, it is an Internet of Things 3D Printed leg cast with embedded electronics that allow doctors to monitor the leg’s physical state from anywhere in the world.

The following technologies are used:

  • 3D-printed body and functional ratcheting straps (FDM Nylon 12 for impact strength and durability)
  • Sole of cast built in PolyJet multi-materials (rigid substructure with rubber-like cushioning)
  • Custom fit from digital body scan (FARO ScanArm)
  • Bluetooth-enabled speakers by Boombotix 
  • Intel Edison (WiFi-enabled) powered by SparkFun, Adafruit, and Arduino
  • Gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer
  • Force sensitive resistors
  • Real-time data transfer to the cloud
  • Multi-color LED feedback
  • Hardware inserts
  • Additive manufacturing equipment used include Fortus 900mc and Objet500 Connex3

The BOOMcast leg cast is removable, lightweight, and robust as it will expand to cater for swelling that happens during commercial flights.

Esben H. Østergaard

Esben H. Østergaard, Founder and CTO of Universal Robots, stated that the revenue of the robot market doubles every year, implying that the use of robots in production is alot more common than before.  He also discussed the history of robotics, from the 3rd Century BC’s Philo of Byzantium, Washstand Automation, Year 1092’s The Cosmic Engine and Clock Tower, to the first real Collaborative Robot in 2009.   The industrial revolution created a gap in manufacturing as the human aspect is now missing.  The effects of the Industrial Revolution are two-folds:

Mass Customization
– Making products not on a massive scale, but in a customized or personalized manner.
– Items suited to small number of users.

–  In order for a country to get income, it must export.  It is not enough to export knowledge.  We need to export knowledge embedded in products.

To close the gap, the next Industrial Revolution would be us wanting human knowledge, creativity, and customer understanding to be embedded in the products we produce.

Rex Sham

Rex Sham, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Insight Robotics, introduced his robot which can be used to detect forest wildfires.  In the past, forest fire watch was performed by human beings working at watchtowers, through closed-circuit television surveillance, and automatic smoke detectors.  However, these methods could lead to alert delays, or simply too costly for detecting countrywide forest fires.

In this respect, Rex developed a Heat-Based Detection Solution, which uses thermal imaging cameras and sensors mounted on UAVs, Satellites and terrestrial robots.  He used satellites to improve detection accuracy and his methods were thoroughly tested.  His product was copied by many factories but no one could copy well, because his robots have self-learning capabilities.

Kai Yu

Kai Yu, Founder and Chief Executive at Horizon Robotics, Founder of Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning (IDL) expressed his views on the revolution of AI.  He suggested that AI nowadays has entered a new era, it is both physical and virtual, as if a new type of species has emerged, AI is not an extension of human capabilities but can make decisions automatically.  He highlighted that robots need APIs to connect with Vision, Speech, Language, Control and Deep Neural Nets platforms.  His product is a Pedestrian Detection System which can identify cars and humans separately in crowded scenes using only single deep neural network.

It is believed that by 2025, everyone will have on average 10 smart devices.  In other words, we will be surrounded by more than 60 billion smart devices.  Presumably each device needs a brain that has an on-device part and a cloud part, this results in a market of 100 billion USD.

MIT Technology Review’s Flagship Event Inaugurates in Hong Kong

MIT Technology Review’s Flagship Event Inaugurates in Hong Kong

The showcase for the emerging technologies with the greatest potential to change our lives.

7 June 2016 – Hong Kong – The inaugural EmTech Hong Kong opens today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).  Organised by MIT Technology Review and Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, the event brings together over 400 C-level business leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and change-makers in Asia and across the globe, to network and do business over a period of two days.

The conference features 40 local and international speakers who are innovators at the heart of the technology revolution, an exhibition and a networking reception which will feature the launch of the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node.

The Honourable John C Tsang, GBM, JP, Financial Secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, will officiate the event with an opening address on Hong Kong’s role in nurturing emerging technologies and innovation to improve lives and make a difference.

The five key themes of EmTech Hong Kong include Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and their implication on businesses; Industry 4.0: New Frontiers for Manufacturing; Future Cities: Rethinking Urban Environments; FinTech: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and the Future of Money; and HealthTech: Technologies to Assist an Ageing Population.

Experts from the tech community speaking at EmTech Hong Kong include:
– Charles G. Sodini, LeBel Professor EECS, MIT
– Chia-Peng Day, General Manager – Automation Technology Development Committee, Foxconn
– Dennis Lo, Director, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
– Esben H Østergaard, CTO & Founder, Universal Robots
– Gerald Wong, CEO, Cambridge Industries Group
– Kent Larson, Director, MIT City Science Initiative and Director, Changing Places, MIT Media Lab
– Jason Hsu, Advisory Committee Member on Innovation & Education at Prime Minister’s Office, Executive Yuan, Taiwan Government
– Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief and Publisher, MIT Technology Review
– Kai Yu, Founder and Chief Executive at Horizon Robotics, Founder of Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning (IDL)
– Michael Sung, Managing Director, CarbonBlue Innovations & Adjunct Associate Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
– Sean O’Sullivan, Managing Director, SOSV
– Steven Chu, Chief Strategy Officer, Huawei
– Tim Swanson, Head of Market Research, R3-CEV
– Vitalik Buterin, Co-Founder, Ethereum Foundation
– Weiping Huang, Chairman, Qingdao Hisense Broadband Multimedia Technologies
– Wong Ming Yam, Chairman, Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI)
– Yasheng Huang, Professor of Global Economics and Management, Associate Dean for International Programs and Action Learning, MIT Sloan School of Management

Key event partners include Host partner Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), Innovation partner The University of Hong Kong and Strategic partners InvestHK, StartmeupHK, MIT Professional Education, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

For more information, please visit www.emtechhk.com



EmTech Hong Kong strengthens line-up with more Renowned Speakers

EmTech Hong Kong strengthens line-up with more Renowned Speakers

financial secretary2How we innovate today will shape the way we live in the future. On 7 June, EmTech Hong Kong will be inaugurated by the Honourable John C Tsang, GBM, JP and Financial Secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, who will address Hong Kong’s role in nurturing emerging technology to improve lives.

Dr. Frank Tong, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI and EmTech Hong Kong’s Host Partner, is looking forward to the conference:

“ASTRI is proud and delighted to be the host partner of MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Hong Kong. We believe that EmTech Hong Kong will serve as a great platform for ASTRI to showcase our R&D competence spanning from FinTech, Next Generation Network, Intelligent Manufacturing, Medical and Health to Smart City. It will also provide a great opportunity for R&D talents to converge and explore collaboration opportunities. In short, we are very excited about this forthcoming event.”Over two days, speakers at EmTech Hong Kong will address five key themes that will impact our lives. These themes include Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and their implication on businesses; New Frontiers for Manufacturing; Future Cities; Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and the Future of Money and Technologies to assist an ageing population.

Key speakers on Day One include Danny Yeung, Chief Executive Officer of Prenetics, who will be sharing insight into innovative bio-testing technologies; while Duncan Turner, Managing Director of HAX will be discussing Why Shenzhen is the Silicon Valley of Hardware and Yasheng Huang, Professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT Sloan School of Management will talk about the Economic Growth and Innovation Imperative in China in a special session that focuses on growth and innovation in China  and Hong Kong.

The sessions on Day Two will kick-off with a fireside chat with SOSV’s Sean O’Sullivan who will share his insights on innovation and how he identifies emerging technologies with potential. This will be followed by an Infinite Energy session where Vladimir Bulović, Associate Dean for Innovation, MIT School of Engineering, MIT, will present MIT’s ONE Lab’s key breakthroughs and Leslie Dewan, Founder and CEO of Transatomic Power will discuss Using Nuclear Waste as a Safe, Clean and Scalable Source of Electricity.

Professor T S Andy Hor, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at The University of Hong Kong and EmTech’s Innovation Partner views the conference as a testament to Hong Kong’s strength as an innovation hub: “The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is delighted to be an innovation partner of MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Hong Kong. The future of Hong Kong is full of challenges and opportunities, especially in the areas of ageing population, financial technologies, smart living, automation and advanced manufacturing. The themes at EmTech Hong Kong synergise and complement HKU’s research areas which have strong innovation potential. The University is always looking for collaborative opportunities with the private sector and EmTech Hong Kong provides us with good opportunities to meet new partners.”


Find us on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn with the official event hashtag, #EmTechHK

MIT Technology Review’s Conference on Emerging Technology, EmTech, Inaugurates in Hong Kong, June 2016

MIT Technology Review’s Conference on Emerging Technology, EmTech, Inaugurates in Hong Kong, June 2016


  • 30 international speakers to speak on innovation and emerging technologies
  • Themed: The Future of Technology. Today
  • Spotlight on technologies that improve the way we live

Technology is fast-changing every aspect of our lives; from the way we work and live to how we manage money and how we care for our aged. Themed “The Future of Technology. Today.”, the inaugural EmTech Hong Kong conference will spotlight emerging technologies that aim to improve the way we live. Held from 7 to 8 June 2016 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 30 global innovators that represent the tech world’s most visionary leaders will speak at the conference.

Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief and Publisher, MIT Technology Review (right), reasons why the event is held in Hong Kong:

“Over the past few years, we have seen Hong Kong and itssurrounding areas growing significantly as an incubator for startups and innovative enterprises. EmTech Hong Kong aims to facilitate innovators and startups by giving them a voice as well as a platform for engagement. The event will also witness the launch of the MIT Innovation Node in Hong Kong, an incredible MIT initiative offering opportunities for MIT and Hong Kong students to take their ideas to impact.”

Organized by Koelnmesse Pte Ltd and MIT Technology Review, EmTech Hong Kong 2016 expects to attract over 400 participants from the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Key speakers include:

  • Charles Sodini, LeBel Professor EECS, MIT
  • Fiona Murray, Associate Dean for Innovation MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Kent Larson, Director, MIT City Science Initiative and Director, Changing Places, MIT Media Lab
  • Sean O’Sullivan, Managing Director, SOSV
  • Esben H. Østergaard, CTO & Founder, Universal Robots
  • Dennis Lo, Director, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Homayoon Kazerooni, Founder & CEO, SuitX and Director, Berkeley Robotics & Human Engineering Lab
  • Ming Chan, Executive Director, Ethereum Foundation
  • Richard Socher, Founder of MetaMind
  • Shyam Gollakota, Co-Founder of Jeeva Wireless


Hong Kong’s rising startups and scientists, including Prenetics, a company specializing in pharmacogenomics; Insight Robotics, which pioneers intelligent threat detection; Prof Dennis Lo, whose studies on liquid biopsy could revolutionize the early detection of cancer; Cesar Harada, founder of MakerBay, whose Protei shape shifting and sailing robot can explore and protect the ocean with open source technologies and Manav Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of Brinc, an Internet of Things startup accelerator, will also share their perspectives and breakthroughs with delegates.

“Hong Kong is widely recognised as a flourishing international business centre and a gateway to Mainland China, especially the Pearl River Delta region. Promoting Hong Kong as one of the world’s fastest-growing technology and startup hubs is a major thrust for us, together with attracting global tech talent. We want to continue to attract the best and brightest,” Charles Ng, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion at InvestHK, said.

Key partners of EmTech Hong Kong include InvestHK, StartmeupHK, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, Cyberport, Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Innovation and Technology Development Office and MIT Professional Education. As part of the event, MIT Professional Education will host a pre-event one day workshop on 6 June, led exclusively by MIT experts Dr Kent Larson and Dr Ryan Chin.


Find us on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn with the official event hashtag, #EmTechHK