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NTHU's AI Initiatives Boost the M'utu Coffee Industry

2023.12.13
National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan leverages its AI and design expertise to lift up local industries, as exemplified by the successful revitalization of M'utu's coffee sector in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County. The Regional Innovation Center at NTHU showcased its collaborative achievements in an effort to encourage youth to return to the rural areas of Hsinchu for sustainable community development.
 
At the "Engaging with the Field: 2023 NTHU USR Expo" on December 13, long-term partners, including Chi-Mei Fu (傅琦媺), director of the Hsinchu County Government Agriculture Department, Sheng Jen Chiang (江盛任), director of the Bureau of Environmental Protection Hsinchu, Zhi-Hong Zhang (張志弘), mayor of Hengshan Township, and Ming-Zeng Zhuang (莊明增), mayor of Beipu Township, signed the "Declaration of Action on Regional Revitalization in the Hsinchu Area." Deputy Chairperson Chiang-Chieh Chou (周江杰) from the Hakka Affairs Council also attended the ceremony.
 
President W. John Kao (高為元) stated that while Hsinchu is a global semiconductor technology center, it faces challenges with respect to uneven population distribution, industrial development, and cultural growth. He urged NTHU students and local organizations to contribute to social development, and bring about better living standards in Hsinchu. "On the journey we are making to improve society, NTHU will not be absent," said President Kao.
 
Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Nyan-Hwa Tai (戴念華) highlighted NTHU's commitment to sustainability by citing the fact that NTHU has won the Taiwan University Sustainability Award for three consecutive years. NTHU teams have also received accolades such as the Taiwan Sustainable Action Award and the CommonWealth Magazine Social Responsibility Award. Tai hopes to collaborate with local partners to create a "Livable Place with Local Sustainability."
 
Chung-Chih Chen (陳炯志), a postdoctoral researcher from Tsing Hua College, shared his insights regarding M'utu's local practices. Formerly reliant on mining, the region faced economic decline after the industry's relocation, prompting a search for sustainable enterprises that could revitalize the local economy.
 
As they ventured into coffee bean cultivation, M'utu farmers sought to improve the beans' flavor. With aid from NTHU's Regional Innovation Center, an electronic nose developed by Professor Kea-Tiong Tang (鄭桂忠) revolutionized the monitoring of coffee fermentation, boosting quality. In the cupping event this year, M'utu coffee scored an impressive 83.9.
 
Collaborating with Professor Nen-Fu Huang (黃能富), M'utu coffee farmers utilized an AI model and smart glasses to identify optimal harvest stages.
 
The NTHU REAL+ team assisted M'utu in developing unique coffee products. Apart from drip coffee bags, they processed coffee leaves into tea bags. Moreover, in collaboration with Professor Ming-Twen Shiau (蕭銘芚) from NTHU, they worked on creating reusable glass filter cups as an alternative to disposable filter paper and packaged them into gift boxes for sale.
 
Chairman Ming-Kuang Sung (宋明光) of the M'utu Coffee Production Cooperative, who attended the event with four local farmers, expressed the community's excitement over NTHU's involvement, which has fostered optimism regarding local development. Smart glasses developed by NTHU professors have been vital in promoting educational initiatives concerning food and agriculture.
 
Hung-Wei Chen (陳泓維), CEO of REAL+, invited visitors to the exhibition at the Main Library, which is showcasing local achievements from the rural areas of Hsinchu until December 22.
 
Supported by the policies of the Ministry of Education, NTHU has assisted faculty in establishing four University Social Responsibility (USR) teams, including REAL+ (Regional Industry and Culture Assistant System in the Hsinchu Area), "S+M+ART" (Science and Maker Art for Smart Service Activation), the TNUNAN Concert (Promoting Atayal Medical Talent Cultivation Program with Culturally Responsive Teaching), and Education for Sustainable Development in Interdisciplinary Resilience Integration and Social Practice: Case Studies of the Nanliao Coastal Community and Nature Valley.
 
Additionally, NTHU has been actively promoting four USR-Hub projects, including “Live and Let Live: Toward Harmonizing Growth in the ‘Toucian River - Wuhua Industrial Zone,'" the “Community Empowerment Through Sustainable Sports Program,” “Building a Companionship and Prosperity Framework for an Aging Society: Creating a Sustainable and Resilient Society through Intergenerational Dialogue,” and “Activating School History, Sustaining Local Culture.”
 
The NTHU team supported local farmers to cultivate a unique coffee industry in M'utu, situated in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County.

The NTHU team supported local farmers to cultivate a unique coffee industry in M'utu, situated in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County.

NTHU and the local partners signed the

NTHU and the local partners signed the "Declaration of Action on Regional Revitalization in the Hsinchu Area."

Professor Ming-Twen Shiau (蕭銘芚), from the Department of Arts and Design at NTHU, developed reusable glass filter cups that replace disposable filter paper.

Professor Ming-Twen Shiau (蕭銘芚), from the Department of Arts and Design at NTHU, developed reusable glass filter cups that replace disposable filter paper.

Utilizing AI recognition technology and smart glasses, Professor Nen-Fu Huang (黃能富) from the Department of Computer Science at NTHU educates children on determining when coffee beans are ripe for harvesting.

Utilizing AI recognition technology and smart glasses, Professor Nen-Fu Huang (黃能富) from the Department of Computer Science at NTHU educates children on determining when coffee beans are ripe for harvesting.

M'utu coffee farmers employ the electronic nose developed by NTHU's Electrical Engineering Professor Kea-Tiong Tang (鄭桂忠) to monitor coffee bean fermentation acidity, enhancing the flavor of the coffee.

M'utu coffee farmers employ the electronic nose developed by NTHU's Electrical Engineering Professor Kea-Tiong Tang (鄭桂忠) to monitor coffee bean fermentation acidity, enhancing the flavor of the coffee.

Farmers from Nepal's Sherpa community (first and second on the left) visited Hsinchu to gain insights from M'utu coffee farmers.

Farmers from Nepal's Sherpa community (first and second on the left) visited Hsinchu to gain insights from M'utu coffee farmers.

The beautiful scenery of the M'utu Coffee Farm in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County.

The beautiful scenery of the M'utu Coffee Farm in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County.

The NTHU team assists M'utu farmers in developing unique products by turning coffee leaves into tea.

The NTHU team assists M'utu farmers in developing unique products by turning coffee leaves into tea.

An on-campus exhibition showcasing local practices is ongoing until December 22.

An on-campus exhibition showcasing local practices is ongoing until December 22.

Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Nyan-Hwa Tai (戴念華) hopes to collaborate with local partners to create a vision of

Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Nyan-Hwa Tai (戴念華) hopes to collaborate with local partners to create a vision of "sustainable living in urban and rural areas."

NTHU and community partners announced achievements in local initiatives today.

NTHU and community partners announced achievements in local initiatives today.

Professor Fu-Ren Lin (林福仁), the Deputy Sustainability Officer at NTHU from the Institute of Service Science, showcased the M'utu Coffee Gift Box—a tangible outcome of the NTHU team's support in developing unique local products.

Professor Fu-Ren Lin (林福仁), the Deputy Sustainability Officer at NTHU from the Institute of Service Science, showcased the M'utu Coffee Gift Box—a tangible outcome of the NTHU team's support in developing unique local products.

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