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04/23/2018 Interview > Alumni

Title

Algorithm for Everyone’s Inactive Health

Algorigo CEO, Cha Gil-hwan

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http://www.hanyang.ac.kr/surl/0X6Y

Contents

The word "IoT" is no longer an unfamiliar technological notion anymore. Standing for the "Internet of Things," we are in control of various everyday devices even without making physical contact. Nowadays, it’s not solely "devices" that are in control. Pieces of furniture are also being included to the list of IoT compatible objects. Cha Gil-hwan (Physics, 06’), the CEO of Algorigo, is leading this area by designing chairs that fit into the world of IoT.

 
 

For better inactive life
 

“We spend the majority of the day being inactive – sleeping, sitting down, or even doing a slight action like walking,” started off Cha. Cha’s startup company, Algorigo, is trying to help this very problem. “Algorigo is a company that has designed an algorithm that can help us live our lives in a more effective, healthier way.” This company, unlike other businesses, concentrates not on materialistic objects but on the algorithm - an unambiguous specification of how to solve a class of problems - required to improve our lives with the assistance of technology.
 

News H met Cha in his office which held a variety of eye-catching chairs.



As the first project of Algorigo, Cha entered into a partnership with the well-known chair company, Duoback, to incorporate their products with Algorigo’s technology. The Duoback On is a smart chair that they invented for children. By analyzing body pressure distribution measurements read inside the seat board of the chair, Algorigo allows users to have detailed knowledge of our bodies when we sit. Through the sensors in the chair, data is sent to an IoT platform named Smart Home which is managed by SK Telecom. This chair is the first piece of furniture listed on this platform.
 

Once this data is sent to the platform, the user, or the child’s parents in this case, can view details about this inactive motion of sitting down. They can not only be informed about the length of time their child was in the chair, but also her or his sitting position. The sensors records whether the user is sitting down straight or slouching in any direction. Through continued use of this chair, the user can find out the most frequently made posture, and can use their awareness to change it later on if necessary. “Healthy posture is extremely important for growing children – not only for their physical growth, but also for their mental abilities such as concentration. Being able to receive detailed scientific feedback would definitely be helpful in this regard,” said Cha.
 

A picture explaining the platforms this chair is connected to
(Photo courtesy of Duoback)



The algorithm of Cha’s growth
 

Cha’s challenge in beginning his startup was planning it out ahead of time, just like an algorithm. “Unlike other people who start their own businesses right away, I realized I needed more knowledge and practical business experience to better run my company,” reminisced Cha. He studied overseas to improve his English as well as studying intensively in his major. Even though a lot of physics majors fail to study abroad, Cha was proudly accepted to an exchange program and experienced what his friends couldn’t. As he certainly had a definite goal with a detailed roadmap, he was able to work hard for his career. He graduated with honors, worked in a major firm for three years, and eventually started his company, Algorigo.
 

Now he is planning to expand his company to include chairs for teenagers and adults, and eventually plans to design a standard Algorigo that can directly help improve people’s quality of life and health. Although this concept of sensors is still unfamiliar to most people, Cha continuously emphasized the health derived from still actions. “For a lot of students and businessman, almost two-thirds of the day is spent sitting or lying down. However, most health-related platforms are currently only concentrated on physical activity and sports. Solutions for the actions we spend the most time doing are not concrete, so I hope that I can offer help in this field,” said Cha.
 

Cha still has endless passion to develop Algorigo.


Cha also had his ups and downs as he pursued his career. However, through firm trust in himself, he is making it through with increasing realization in his work. He emphasized being desperate and urgent in what one plans to achieve. “To anyone who is planning a startup and also for those who are not, I wish all Hanyangians have a goal and reach for it with a mindset that it’s the only goal you wish to achieve!”





On Jung-yun          jessica0818@hanyang.ac.kr
Photos by Lee Jin-myeong
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