SDG Open Innovation Camp 2023 for the Greater Bay Area Successfully Held at UNU Macau and BEYOND Expo

The camp aimed to promote sustainable development through the involvement, design, and co-creation of innovative projects by cross-industry talents.

The SDG Open Innovation Camp 2023 for the Greater Bay Area was successfully held in the Macau SAR. The camp was jointly organised by United Nations University Institute in Macau, Chaihuo Maker Space, Macau Environmental Protection General Association, and co-organised by Seeed Studio, Macau Youth Technology Exchange Association, and EQUALS Global partnership. As one of the “BEYOND Expo” events, the innovation camp provided 40 participants from Macao and 7 other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Jiangmen, Foshan, Hong Kong) with a 3-day learning journey of open-source technology and business innovation practice, aiming to promote the implementation of sustainable development through the involvement, design, and co-creation of innovative projects by the cross-industry talents.

During the three-day SDG Open Innovation Camp 2023, 40 innovators went through sections of open-source technology learning, innovation project co-creation, and the ultimate project pitch. By combining popular sustainable development topics and overall development in urban communities in Macao, they teamed up and created 8 solutions for green sustainable cities and communities after researching, designing solutions, testing, and prototyping in the pitch session.

Two-Day Immersive Exploration of Open Technology and Sustainability

The first 2-day innovation camp training led participants through a comprehensive, systematic simulation of a deep learning process for open-source technology and sustainable development goals. On the first day of the camp, participants learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under the guidance of professional SDG mentors from the United Nations University Institute in Macau and Seeed Studio, they gained a deeper understanding of SDGs and the important role of open-source technology that plays in promoting the implementation of sustainable development.

In the open-source technology training section, participants followed technical mentors to learn about IoT architecture and IoT sensing systems. Through multiple hands-on sessions, they discussed the feasibility of innovative solutions from a technical perspective. To give participants a more profound and intuitive understanding of how an IoT perception system actually works in the industrial setting, the organizers also set up an industrial-grade smart chicken farm demo, allowing participants to experience the application of IoT technology and the digital empowerment it brings to the industry.

The Greater Bay Area Talents Co-Creating Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development

In the project co-creation section, participants worked in groups to discuss and refine the eight hot topics related to sustainable urban development in Macau, as proposed by the United Nations University Institute in Macau. In addition, the organizers invited 8 experts to serve as project mentors, participating in project brainstorming and providing professional guidance to each group’s projects. The project mentors included Tina Zhu – NVIDIA Inception Program Manager, Felix Leung – Climate Change Fellow at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Hong Kong, Christine Choi – Architect and Co-founder at JWCC Architecture, Zhinian Dong – Dean of the Art & Technology Innovation R&D Center at the Research Institute of Tsinghua University in Shenzhen, Ruby O – Chairperson of The Society of Food and Environmental Health (Macao),  Jaime Stuart – Senior Researcher & Team Lead at the United Nations University Institute in Macau and Serge Stinckwich – Head of Research at the United Nations University Institution in Macau.

“The teams showcased their innovative and creative design to address real-world problems. A lot of the solutions are low-cost and sustainable. We need future generations to get out of their classroom and embrace the maker culture. In the age of AI, only an inventive mindset would give people a competitive edge. I’m also happy to see the camp also brings people from different cities of GBA together, it shows great diversity and people who speak different languages work together.” Commented Felix Leung, one of the mentors.

Eight AIoT Solutions Empowering Sustainable Cities

At 10 am on May 10th, 6 judges were invited to the project pitch section to evaluate and decide the Most Innovative Project out of the 8 AIoT solutions created by the participants during the Innovation Camps.


SDG Innovation Camp

The 8 projects covered solutions powered by AIoT technologies, including smart food inventory management system, computer vision travel route platform, smart guardian helmet for food delivery industry, real-time alert for water pollution, dialogue-based smart waste sorting bin, mobile sustainable recharge space, climate coach STEAM education kit, and monitoring device for microbial plastic degradation. At the project roadshow, the judges engaged in in-depth discussions, shared their experiences and suggestions with the project teams. Ultimately, the Smart Guardian Helmet project stood out with its leading performance in five aspects of innovativeness, technical difficulty, sustainability, feasibility and practicality, winning the “Most Innovative Project” award of the Innovation Camp. Furthermore, at the closing ceremony, all participants received completion certificates to commend their contributions to creating a better future for Macau through open technology initiatives.

Dr. Jingbo Huang, Director of the United Nations University Institute in Macau, said after the event, “The United Nations University Institute in Macau is an important link for international exchanges and cooperation in the Greater Bay Area, with a foundation for innovative technology experimentation and an important hub for the United Nations in the region. We are delighted to witness 40 participants producing these implementable, replicable innovative solutions to the eight most common sustainable development issues in Macau. I believe this is an effective attempt to explore the role of technology innovation in urban and ecologically sustainable development, and a meaningful exploration of building a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient Macau.”

“Since its establishment, the Macau Environmental Protection General Association has been committed to promoting the implementation of ecological and green development. As one of the key events of BEYOND Week, the innovation camp united a group of young people to participate, design and show innovative solutions that promote the application of technological innovation in the Urban and Ecological Sustainable Development. In the future, we look forward to working with all sectors of society to continue to explore more new directions for the green development of the environmental protection industry”, commented Kenneth Lou, President of the Macau Environmental Protection General Association.

SDG Open Innovation Camp