Korea University: A Time-and-Space Transcending Place to Invigorate Startup Ecosystems Opens Its Doors

Korea University opens up an experience center based on a new-concept, innovative platform connecting the real world with virtual reality.

On April 26, the university hosted the opening ceremony of KU-3DS, a special lab for private sector partnership at the Gongzone (meaning ‘co-existence’ in Korean) on the 1st floor of π-ville 99, Korea University. The ceremony was attended by more than 150 participants including KU President, Chung Jin-Taek; KU Executive Vice President for Research, Lee Kwan-Young; Director of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, Noh Yong Seok; Director of Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development, Lee Young-Seok; and CEO of Dassault Systèmes, Cho Young Bin.

KU-3DS is established as part of the ‘Makerspace Development Program’ led by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. Under the 5-year (3+2 year) plan financially supported by the Korean government, KU-3DS will provide integrated support for the design and manufacture of products through the integration of the virtual world and real world based on the Cyber-Physical System (CPS) *, an innovative technology developed in the private sector.

The ‘Makerspace Development Program’ aims to promote new business in manufacturing by assisting startup candidates with prototype production or mass production. To support future startup CEOs realize their brilliant ideas, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups executes the program with Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development as the leading organization. Korea University has already had two Makerspaces; ‘KU-Makerspace’ and ‘X-GARAGE.’ The former is a general lab established through the previous LINC project, and the latter is a specialized lab stilloperating since the university was chosen as the winner of the project in 2018. The opening of the doors of KU-3DS this year is part of a program that the university won in August, 2021, to build a new center dedicated to projects in collaboration with the private sector companies.

Specifically, KU-3DS will focus on building and operating the following three platforms; first, a CPS-based virtual reality platform; second, a twin-platform integrating virtual reality with reality; and third, an online platform for close cooperation. With these platforms, KU-3DS seeks to provide a sophisticated infrastructure for startups in the manufacturing business and foster proliferation of the corporate partnership model.

KU-3DS is equipped with an innovative platform, built as part of the KU 4.0 Innovation Platform Development Project, to develop the strategy of reforming the participatory communication network. It offers an overarching partnership structure connecting the entire cycle of the research-corporate-manufacturing-experience and is applied to the research and development of CPS-based drones/autonomous-driving mobility, super-precision sensors and heat-energy systems. In addition, the platform provides support to those in the manufacturing business through both prototype making and testing through 3DExperience and Makerspace.

Lee Kwan-Young, Executive Vice President for Research at Korea University, delivered his congratulatory remarks at the opening ceremony. “KU-3DS is a new concept platform, connecting virtual reality to reality. At the KU-3DS center, products and their features virtually designed in VR/AR can be experienced and verified. Based on the test results from this experience and verification, prototype products can be made real size. Here, we will overcome the boundaries of space and time characterizing previous Makerspaces and spearhead technology innovation.” He added, “Through all-around cooperation, in the short run, the center will contribute to the reduction of the time and costs associated with starting a new business in manufacturing, the discovery and support of startups, and the development of new research areas. In the medium and long term, we expect the center to vitalize the startup ecosystem and eventually spread the partnership model between corporates and startups.”

KU-3DS, newly established at π-ville – a symbol of Korea University innovation, is planned to provide CPS-based software training courses, consulting, and mentoring services for business development, in collaboration with external players such as Dassault Systèmes** and VPK. Internally, KU-3DS will be in close cooperation with Makerspaces, already in operation, to offer a wide range of support for entrepreneurs on campus.

As part of the opening ceremony, a variety of experience programs have also been prepared, including a demonstration of prototype design through VR Cave, demonstration of VR devices such as HTC Vive Pro, and exhibition of real products designed by those devices.

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