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The two nouns, professor and CEO often do not go along too well. It is because the two jobs require two distinct traits, such as a rigorous academic interest for a professor and innovation for a CEO. There are few who manage to bear the two titles, but Park Jai-koo (Professor, Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering) is one of them. In one of the busy Saturday afternoons of Park, News H visited his office to take a closer look at his recent accomplishment. Park is holding a sample of his insulatio, explaining with pride. "Technology is what led to the invesment," smiled Park. Hang in there, that is what makes difference in the end ‘Congratulations’ was the word that started the interview. Park and his company, Micropore was able to draw a huge 3 billion won investment to mass produce his original insulation. The type of insulation Park has developed is specifically used in the process of assembling displays, which is one of the most important industries in the modern world. Park’s insulation is different from the Japanese and German products mainly in two ways. First, it creates less dust. The invention is made of Silicon dioxide, commonly known as Silica. It is one of the most commonly found minerals that originates from underground. “Most insulations are made of Silica, but the root technology of processing it creates vastly different results,” said Park. The second specialty is that it protects from heat very well. The statement may sound awkward as all insulates should prevent heat. Nevertheless, Park mentioned that the imported materials are not specifically made to be used as semi-conductor display insulates. Therefore, Park’s invention with countless pores inside serves the purpose much better. To the question, ‘what was the core factor for Micropore to receive such investment?’ Park answered ‘technology’ without a second of hesitation. Park told us that his past 20 years of working as a professor and a CEO was burdensome as it sounds. Despite the Act on Special Measures for the Promotion of Venture Businesses in 1997 that gave birth to dozens of ‘professor-start-ups’, Micropore is one of the longest living ventures of its kind. “Right earlier this week, I took off from the metro to visit my factory and realized that my shoes were worn out so much. That is how much effort and energy was required to keep up the work,” smiled Park. When asked what is the key behind all this, Park replied, "You just hang in there. There is no special skills or knowledge required. What you do is to pour your everything and hang in there. In the end, the one who endured the longest will make difference.” "A social atmosphere encouraging college students to explore and make companies should be created." Manufacturing industry as the engine of Korea As an engineer professor, Park laments at the reality where not many companies own domestic factories. “Manufacturing industry should revive. That is the way for Korea to grow its competency,” said Park, filled with certainty. The root of such industry is mineral. In order to be utilized, a mineral requires to be located, mined, and processed. Park focuses in processing but also in Urban Mining. “There is more gold in your phone than in a 1 ton of mineral,” mentioned Park. Urban mining retrieves disposed cell phones or PCB (Printed Circuit Boards, found in all electronic devices) and selectively processes them in order to retrieve rare metals such as Au, Ag and Pt. Park now looks forward to acquiring another title, an author. With his abundant experience in both business and engineering, he would like to give advice to fellow professors who are starting his or her own business or planning to have one. “They all need to hold up until the company actually makes progress and profit. I wish Hanyang, as one of the leading engineering schools in the nation, should have a signature company that has our name on it,” wished Park. For the short-term goal, Park plans to list Micropore on KOSDAQ. With the recent investment, may the wind blow to his path. Kim So-yun firstname.lastname@example.org Photos by Lee Jin-myung
“I will be riding a huge robot like in the cartoons in 100 years, and I’ll live forever,” smiled Professor Han Jea-kweon (Department of Interdisciplinary Robit Engineering ). Han in his office in the late afternoon gave two vastly contrasting impressions of a pure child and an agile scholar. News H met with Han to hear more stories about his recent developments and insight in robotics. Han is explaining how much experience is valuable. Get out of the library “It’s really sad that most students ask me the question because it implies how much the young generation of our society is suffering from uncertainty, especially on their future.” When asked, ‘What made you become a robot engineer?’, Han answered both sarcastically and empathetically. He did have a special reason on becoming the person who he is now, but he wanted to make sure that the readers do not fall into the frame of thought that a person needs ‘the moment’ or ‘the reason’ to decide what to do in the future. Han went on to explain that a person passes by hundreds and thousands of opportunities in his or her lifetime, but it is what gives them fun and joy that they are truly attracted to. And ‘the thing’ is not found in books but in experiences. Han himself has also accumulated abundant experiences as a foundation of being one of the leading scholar in the field. Han has always wanted to make robots, but due to the lack of opportunities in Korea at that time, he proceeded with his study in graduate school in automobiles. Then, he got a job in a major company as mainstream society had told him to. “But there was always this unfulfilled thirst inside telling me, ‘this is not your life! You are not born to do this, go on and do what you really want to do,” recalled Han. So, he chose to study in the States to overcome such lack of opportunity. “At that time, I did not foresee my salary to be cut in half,” laughed Han. Geek in the lab Han expressed the most enthusiasm and seriousness when he talked about his work. “I really was a geek before. Watching robot animation is still one of the most important parts of my day,” said Han. The first robot he ever made was a ‘Humvee’, a transformer-like robot. The Humvee was made over the course of one week, during my summer vacation back in 2007, when the movie Transformers (2007) was first released. Han and his wife rebuilt an RC car ‘hummer’ and gave it arms and legs. The Humvee video ‘Real Transformer NO C.G. Upgrade Version -Humvee Bioloid-‘ uploaded on Youtube hit more than 342,000 views to this date. Han’s passion for robots only grew over time while he studied in the United States for his doctoral degree. After coming back to Korea, Han participated in DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Robotics Challenge that lasted for three years from 2012 to 2015. Coming back from the States, Han was bitterly surprised at the situation of the Korean robotics field. The biggest challenge he felt was the lack of intelligence. “The people we had, one by one, were brighter than the ones I’ve seen in the States, but the absolute number was too small.” Han compared the situation with the professional baseball league, where other countries such as Japan or the US have lots of back up players to change in every match, but we do not. That is the moment when he decided to get involved in education. EDIE, one of Han's robots. EDIE is a type of Human Robot interaction robot, intricately structured to communicate and bond with humans. Robots WILL create jobs “Humanity has been worried about robots and machines taking their jobs since the 1760s,” smiled Han. He advised that we need to search for what we can do ‘with’ the robots instead of being worried about what they will take from us. Traditional elites good at calculation and memorizing will lose jobs. But people with intuition, sense and creativity will flourish in unlimited possibilities. That is because robotics requires people from all fields with the aforementioned qualities. For instance, it took a designer, psychologists, and screen play experts in creating a Human Robot Interaction (HRI) robot EDIE. “Robot is a tool needed in our daily lives. Students now need to contemplate on how to progress one step ahead with robots and create social values.” Han plans to focus on three main topics in robotics; humanoid robots, HRI and disaster inspection robots for the short term. Kim So-yun email@example.com Photos by Park Yong-min
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