HONG KONG, March 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In this data-driven era, artificial intelligence and robotics technologies are rapidly reshaping people’s lifestyles, with their profound impact in the field of medicine and healthcare becoming increasingly evident. From image-assisted diagnosis to intelligent health management, artificial intelligence is emerging as a pivotal force propelling medical progress. From March 28th to 29th, the “CAIR Hong Kong Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Healthcare Forum,” organized by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), Hong Kong Institute of Science & Innovation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, was successfully held at the Hong Kong Science Park. This forum convened experts and scholars from around the world to explore innovative applications of artificial intelligence and robotics in the medical field through a series of stimulating thematic discussions, delving into how cutting-edge technology can enhance the quality of healthcare services, optimize resource allocation, improve medical efficiency, and foster the development of medical research.

Prof. Hongbin LIU, Executive Director of the Center for Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), Hong Kong Institute of Science & Innovation (HKISI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) kicked off the first day’s impressive agenda. Professor Weidong LIU, Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation at CAS and Mr. LEE Kwok Bun, Commissioner of the Hong Kong Innovation & Technology Commission, delivered opening speeches for the Forum.

Director Liu emphasized the importance of AI and robotic technology in advancing minimally invasive and intelligent medical practices. He mentioned that as a unique R&D institution, CAIR will join hands with scientists around the world to contribute to human health. Commissioner Lee highlighted that Hong Kong’s first two InnoHK clusters have already strengthened cooperation with global scientific research institutions. He anticipated that future innovation platforms will continue this momentum and expressed congratulations on the interim achievements made by the collaboration between CAIR-CAS and King’s College London. Mr. Duncan Chiu, a member of Hong Kong Legislative Council and President of the Hong Kong Information Technology Joint Council, also attended and delivered a speech. He elaborated on his policy initiatives in areas like VC funding for innovation startups, talent acquisition, and the labor market, to meet the strategic needs of Hong Kong becoming a technological innovation hub.

Exploring the Frontiers of Medical Development: The Revolutionary Medical Applications of AI and Robotics Technology

With the advancement of modern medicine, robotic-assisted surgery technology is increasingly becoming the focus of the industry. Surgical robots not only enhance the precision of operations but also provide medical professionals and patients with a higher quality treatment experience. Professor Yunhui LIU, IEEE Fellow, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, and Director of the CUHK T Stone Robotics Institute, delivered a keynote speech titled “Towards Automation in Robotic Surgery“. He pointed out the automation of surgery represents the direction of development for medical surgical robots. It has the potential to reduce the workload of doctors and improve the quality and safety of surgery. However, there are still many technical challenges to be overcome, including issues related to perception, planning, decision-making, and control.

AI and robotics technology have seen widespread adoption and application in ultrasound imaging. Professor Yongping ZHENG, Henry G. Leong Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of Research Institute for Smart Ageing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, emphasized in his keynote speech titled “Ultrasound Imaging Empowered by AI and Robotics“, AI and robotics will significantly enhance the development and application of ultrasound imaging, improving the accuracy of disease diagnosis. This will benefit patients and make early screening for many diseases possible.

Dr. Tat Ming Danny Chan, Head of the Division of Neurosurgery at Prince of Wales Hospital and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in his keynote speech titled “Unmanned Neurosurgery,” demonstrated how rapidly developed surgical robots and AI have been integrated into medical applications. The idea of computers replacing human brain calculations, once a staple of science fiction, has become a reality. The prospect of biomimetic intelligent surgical robots replacing surgeons is no longer a far-fetched dream.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin, FREng, FMedSci, Head of the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences (BMEIS) at King’s College London, discussed the real-world impact and potential of artificial intelligence platforms and their applications in emergency care, citing the large-scale research he leads, which covers 16 million patients.

Professor Liu Hongbin, in his speech titled “Flexible surgical robot with embodied AI for minimally invasive neurosurgery,” elaborated on how AI can enhance the application of flexible robots in neurosurgeries. He outlined the integration of the MicroNeuro surgical robot with the CARES Copilot surgical model to achieve embodied AI. He underscored that multimodal perception, digital twin systems, and surgical big models will be the three pivotal core technologies of the next generation of intelligent surgical robots.

The co-chairs of the forum, Professor Zhen LEI and Professor Gaofeng MENG, shared their perspectives on the future of AI in healthcare. Professor Zhen LEI highlighted the immense potential of integrating AI with medical technology. He emphasized how AI-driven analysis of medical data can aid in disease diagnosis, treatment planning, and the development of intelligent medical equipment, ultimately enhancing the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. Professor Gaofeng MENG echoed these sentiments, stressing that AI has the power to revolutionize medical service delivery. By leveraging precision medicine, remote monitoring, and intelligent diagnosis, AI can create more personalized and efficient healthcare experiences for patients.

Breakthrough Innovations at the HK MedTech Hub Propel Medical Technology Advancements

In February 2023, the Joint Laboratory “HK MedTech Hub” established by CAIR and King’s College London was officially launched, with the aim of focusing on cutting-edge technologies and tackling major challenges in the medical field. More than 20 researchers from both sides have collaborated on multiple projects, achieving phased goals. This forum displayed three outcomes from the Joint Laboratory: GI-SoftTech, the ESSENCE minimally invasive surgical tactile feedback technology, and the surgical planning software EpiNav.

GI-SoftTech comprises a series of AI-enabled flexible endoscopic robotic systems which offer higher flexibility for surgeons and a more comfortable experience for patients. Their flexible structure and driving technology allow them to adapt to complex human anatomy, and they can significantly enhance safety while reducing the difficulty of operation for doctors, achieving digitization and intelligence in endoscopic examinations.

The ESSENCE minimally invasive surgical tactile feedback technology is capable of deploying distributed high-density touch points at the end of miniature surgical tools, realizing human-like tactile perception for the first time and ushering in an era of precision tactile perception in minimally invasive surgery.

The surgical planning software EpiNav, in combination with the CARES Copilot surgical simulator, provides doctors with the optimal surgical planning in neurosurgery and significantly reduces the time doctors spend on surgical planning through intelligent human-machine interaction.

Professor Ourselin, co-director of “HK MedTech Hub”, told the reporters that “Over the last 12 months, through our unique partnership between King’s College London and CAIR, the HK MedTech Hub has made significant advances in our mission to accelerate robotic surgery and surgical AI. I am thrilled to see the recent pioneering advances we have made into soft robotic endoscopy, haptic sensing for minimally invasive surgery, and large language model integrated with surgical planning. Through such partnership, we are making faster progress at a scale we couldn’t achieve independently.”

The successful convening of the CAIR-HK 2024 AI and Robotics Forum for Healthcare brought together experts from various disciplines to explore the extensive applications and future developments of AI in medicine & healthcare. We anticipate that multimodal AI large-scale models and related technologies will continue to play a critical role in addressing key issues in the medical field, driving medical innovation, and embracing a healthier and more efficient future in healthcare.

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About CAIR

Hong Kong Institute of Science & Innovation, Chinese Academy of Sciences is the first national-level R & D institution outside mainland China, established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was officially registered in Hong Kong in 2019 and has two innovation centers under the InnoHK initiative. The Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, built on the shoulders of the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, focuses on cutting-edge international research in next-generation artificial intelligence fundamental theories, health-oriented intelligent technologies, new human-machine interaction technologies and equipment, and artificial intelligence open platform technologies. The goal is to build Hong Kong into an artificial intelligence hub with national support, attract international high-end talents, and establish an international innovation hub for the applications of artificial intelligence and robotics in medical technology and life sciences.

For more information, please visit CAIR’s WeChat public account or the Center’s official website: https://www.cair-cas.org.hk/

Press release distributed by LT Heyday Culture Communication Co., Limited

Source: Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), Hong Kong Institute of Science & Innovation, Chinese Academy of Sciences