The major focal points at this year’s International Medical and Healthcare Fair were global start-up companies and wearable devices, reports Subhajit Roy.

The 10th HKTDC Hong Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair attracted more than 12,000 buyers from 61 countries and regions, an increase of 8 per cent compared to the previous year. Around 285 exhibitors gathered in Hong Kong for the fair organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and co-organised by the Hong Kong Medical and Healthcare Device Industries Association (HKMHDIA).

The event held between 14th and 16th May welcomed healthcare innovations from eight countries and regions. The Medical Fair witnessed significant increase in the number of buyers from developed markets, such as Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, while the attendance from emerging markets, including Mainland China and ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam also recorded some growth.

Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, said, “Although the latest round of United States tariff hike could have a negative effect on the Hong Kong economy, its impact on medical products is expected to be relatively small. The strong global demand for medical devices and supplies is presenting enormous prospects for the industry.” He added that there was a satisfactory increase in buyer turnout at this year’s Medical Fair, “indicating that Hong Kong continues to be an important international exhibition and sourcing hub for global buyers.”

To help industry players capitalise on the opportunities and explore new markets, this year’s Medical Fair spotlights 165 home-grown biotechnology applications and an array of smart healthcare equipment and wearable medical devices. The Start-up zone displayed the innovative technologies of 21 start-up companies and hosted the inaugural Korea start-up pavilion, which featured six companies.

To facilitate sourcing, 14 thematic zones and regional pavilions were set up at the fair to showcase products in a variety of categories. These included rehabilitation and elderly care products, household and personal healthcare products, health food and nutrition, fitness products and services, physiotherapy supplies and hospital equipment.

In addition, a series of seminars was organised during the fair to update participants on the latest market and industry developments, covering areas such as biomedical technologies, the use of sensor technologies for medical diagnosis in Australia, and the outlook for the medical and healthcare industry.

The Hospital Authority Convention 2019, another signature event of the Asia-Pacific medical industry, was held concurrently with the Medical Fair. More than 5,600 medical professionals attended the event.

Product Highlights

Retinal examination using smartphone

Retina is the most important part of the human eye for light detection. Diseases of the retina may result in irreversible blindness. It is also an amazing part of the body where signals of body health could be revealed. Conventional imaging of retina requires large and sophisticated instrument, which may not be accessible by general healthcare workers.

Hong Kong’s RainsOptics Limited displayed its OphthoLens – a medical diagnostic instrument for examination of the retina. OphthoLens is a specialised lens adaptor that converts common smartphones into fully functional pocket-sized retinal camera, which is simple to learn and easy to use.

The product enables large-scale screening for retinal diseases by general healthcare workers or even a common man with some training. With OphthoLens, retinal examination could be done by anyone, anywhere.

Blood testing with a smartphone

Another Korean company, 1 Drop Inc brought its portable blood testing device that uses a smartphone and plasma separating biosensors to detect several diseases with only one drop of blood. 1 Drop series enables measurement of haemoglobin, blood glucose, uric acid and cholesterol within 10-15 seconds.

Revolutionary assistive walking device

MedEXO Robotics (Hong Kong) Company Limited has developed ExoBeam – an assistive walking device which helps providing visual, tactile and auditory rhythmic cues to help people with unsteady and irregular gait. Devices like ExoBeam have been used for stroke rehabilitation as well as alleviating the symptoms of other movement disorders.

ExoBeam has 3 main features that prompt patients to control movement of their foot.

  • Visual Laser Assist: A laser beam projects a straight line on the ground to help guide and train patient’s movements, helping them improve their balance and reduce the symptoms of freezing.
  • Vibrating Alerts Device can be set with preset rhythm to help the patient to maintain a normal walking pace. The rhythmic vibration frequency is a physical reminder for patients to take every step safely.
  • Audio Prompting Device has a built-in audio function that emits audio cues which adjust to the patient’s stride, speed, and walking frequency.

3D printer for skin regeneration

Korean 3D bioprinter manufacturer ROKIT Healthcare has developed INVIVO – a dual-module extrusion 3D printer for skin regeneration. The machine is equipped with built-in sterilisation systems. INVIVO enables soft-tissue and hard-tissue printing using a wide range of natural and synthetic polymers. ROKIT plans clinical trial for this technology in India.

Mobile Exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton Robot

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University designed Mobile Exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton Robot for multi-joint upper limb rehabilitation after stroke. Combining neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), soft pneumatic muscle and exoskeleton, it is able to sense the electromyogram (EMG) signals of paretic muscles and provides voluntary motor intention control.

The exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton can provide multi-joint mechanical assistance and NMES to paralysed joints in elbow, wrist and fingers, and improve motor functions in the whole upper limb.

Scoliosis scanning goes radiation-free

Scoliosis is a spinal disease that results in the spine twisting out of alignment, causing limited spine motion and decreased breathing capacity. Globally, scoliosis has a prevalence of 5 per cent, but some regions and populations are hit harder than others. Primarily, X-ray is used to diagnose scoliosis. However, several studies reveal that X-ray-diagnosis increases the risk of cancer among scoliosis patients. Of late, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed a palm-sized radiation-free ultrasound 3D imaging technology for assessing scoliosis which is not only safe to use, but is also ultra-portable.

Medical Refrigerator Monitoring System

Testo presented its Saveris 2 WiFi data logger system that becomes the ideal solution for temperature monitoring in refrigerators. It enables temperature monitoring to run automatically. All the measurement data are transmitted wirelessly to the Testo Cloud and automatically archived there. Access to measure value documentation possible at any time. It also enables sending warning for critical temperature values by e-mail or SMS.

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