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RCA and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to Establish the World's First AI Powered Design Laboratory

The Royal College of Art (RCA) and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to confirm their intention to establish the PolyU|RCA Artificial Intelligence Design Laboratory (AIDL). 

The Laboratory will be the world’s first and leading research facility to champion the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the design of products and service. 

AIDL will address industry demands for efficiency, automation and customisation of products and services. Its research deliverables will support industries including healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality and retail services. 

The Hon Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) attended the ceremony and witnessed the signing of MOU by Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, RCA. and Prof Philip C. H. Chan, Interim President and Provost, PolyU. 

Dr Paul Thompson meets Hon Mrs Carrie Lam in Hong Kong
Paul Thompson meets Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, 2019

Addressing in the ceremony, the Hon Mrs Carrie Lam said, 'The opportunity to witness this marriage of design and AI which belongs to the technology portfolio is extremely gratifying. I am sure that the collaborated team of PolyU and RCA will find in Hong Kong  the appeal of time-tested legal system, robust intellectual property protection, strong financial sector, and the support for commercialisation of R and D results, as well as the distinctive east meets west culture which sparks creative inspiration.'

Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of RCA, said: 'Founded 182 years ago, in response to the first industrial revolution, today the RCA stands at the turn of the fourth revolution. The world will witness breakthroughs across design and technology including artificial intelligence – where art and design will meet.  As the world’s number one art and design university, we have built our capacity to work across disciplines, combining our art and design research expertise with insights from science, technology and engineering. We are delighted to collaborate with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University to bring together unrivalled capabilities.' 

Prof Philip C. H. Chan said, 'I am confident that this Laboratory will bring together the strengths of both institutions to lead the world in this new design paradigm, contributing to the innovation and technology development in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.' 

PolyU will engage researchers and resources from various disciplines including Department of Applied Mathematics, Department of Computing, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Institute of Textiles and Clothing, Department of Mechanical Engineering and School of Design to work together with RCA on a number of theme-based research, including:

  • Affective computing and social robots that could recognise and analyse human emotions
  • Intelligent fashion design
  • Intelligent textile and apparel design and manufacturing – innovating materials of the future that are extremely light, robust and able to detect human bio-metrics for fashion and wearables
  • creating automatic systems for ergonomic design and human modelling, and using regenerative approach in product design and material development for sustainability in the circular economy.