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University of Hong Kong

— Environment

"Biorefinery" converts Starbucks waste into useful product

Every year, the individual stores that make up Starbucks Hong Kong produce almost 5,000 tonnes (4,536 tons) of used coffee grounds and unconsumed bakery items. As it stands now, all of that waste is incinerated, dumped in a landfill, or composted. In the future, however, it may be used to produce a key ingredient in laundry detergents, plastics, and many other items. A recent experiment showed that it can indeed be done. Read More
— Architecture

A house for all seasons in a Chinese village

China has set itself the goal of transforming half of its rural population of 700 million people into productive, comfortable members of urban conglomerations in the next three decades. Thus far, the process has moved along with a great deal of work for civil and mechanical engineers and the construction industry, but very little role for architects in the generically styled concrete and brick urban buildings. Award-winning architect at the University of Hong Kong John Lin and his associates believe that this process of urbanization also calls for a flexible approach to house design in rural areas. The result is a project that looks at the role of the stereotypic village house and attempts to propose a prototype which reaches toward contemporary living styles while respecting the functionality and traditions of the past. Read More
— Medical

Magnetically-controlled "growing rods" promise less surgery for children with scoliosis

Scoliosis is a lateral deformity of the spine, that most often shows up in young children and adolescents. Besides resulting in disfigurement, in some cases it can also cause breathing problems. In severe cases, if the child is still growing, telescoping steel rods are surgically implanted alongside the deformed section of the spine, in order to straighten it. Unfortunately, repeat surgeries are necessary every six months, in order to lengthen the rods as the child grows. Now, however, scientists from the University of Hong Kong are reporting success in the first human trials of a system that incorporates rods which can be lengthened using magnets instead of surgery. Read More