Alumni Kaleidoscope: Mark Mak - BEng(ELEC), MPhil(ECE)
KEEPING OUR ENVIRONMENT CLEAN: THE ROBOTS AT THE FRONTLINE OF THE PANDEMIC
Inspired by Gundam as a child, Mark’s love for all things robotic is now helping society combat a major threat: the Covid-19 pandemic. With two Engineering degrees from HKUST under his belt, Mark is the Co-Founder of Roborn Technology, a company that uses 5G connectivity, AI and advanced motion control technologies to build a wide range of robots, including UV disinfection robots.
The Unicorn is Roborn’s UV-C disinfection robot – UV-C is primarily used in hospital settings, and while they are potent, they can’t be used around people as their rays are dangerous to human skin and eyes. This is where the Unicorn’s 360-degree camera sensors come in, enabling the robot’s operator to ensure the surrounding environment is clear of humans before disinfecting begins. Once it gets into action, it takes a mere 60 seconds for the Unicorn to clean a 100 square feet space.
Demand for the Unicorn is soaring, predictably, and it’s not just the robot’s disinfecting abilities that have caught customers’ attention. Mark points out that the Unicorn is mounted as an all-terrain vehicle, meaning it can be used on a variety of surfaces, not just flat ones. In the future, Roborn aims to build and sell a range of Unicorn models with different sizes to cater for customer needs; future robots will also be equipped with coating that will prolong the cleanliness of disinfected surfaces.
Mark credits HKUST for allowing his entrepreneurial career to take off this successfully. “Being an HKUST graduate helped earn me client and investor trust and confidence in Roborn’s products and services,” Mark says. Tech startups are gaining momentum in Hong Kong, and Roborn’s Co-Founder believes 5G technology has an instrumental part to play by lowering the costs of inventing AI robotics and boosting the speed of computer algorithms.
The UV-C disinfection robot market is projected to grow by over 30 percent annually through to 2027, when it’ll be worth over US$ 5 billion by then. Mark hopes the Hong Kong government is able to provide more opportunities for local tech startups to test their products, allowing them to better meet future client needs.
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