Design Intelligence Lab
Ju Hong Park (Convergence IT Engineering)
Maker Space is located on the third floor of ‘CHANGeUP Ground’, a startup incubation center that opened this year on the POSTECH premises. From the threshold, it is easy to spot an artistic wall structure made from woven pieces of wood. While such a structure would normally require several artisan hours to piece together by hand, this completely flawless wall was fabricated by robots with precision and speed. Next to the wall stands a robotic arm pouring water into a coffee filter to carefully brew a cup of coffee. Beyond that, a three-dimensional printer, measuring higher than human form, pours out building materials to create a structure.
This grand laboratory, where art and technology converge, is known as the Design Intelligence Lab, and is headed by Professor Ju Hong Park at the Department of Creative IT Engineering, POSTECH. The Lab is exploring the possible application of human and artificial intelligence to a gamut of areas that routinely require elements of design – from architecture and urban spaces to machinery and food.
One primary focus at the Design Intelligence Lab is in robotic construction research. The wall made of thin pieces of wood attests to the Lab’s ability to create artistic value to architecture by harnessing the power of robotics to generate further refined outcomes. Out on the farmland near POSTECH, research on robotic construction is underway with robots transporting wooden and steel materials and implementing 3D printing technology. According to Professor Park, affordable housing falling in the range of millions to tens of millions of KRW could be as much of a game changer in the housing market as electric vehicles have been in the automobile industry.
Professor Park describes himself as peculiar, in that he uniquely embraces the fusion of technology with arts and humanities. This year, he teamed up with the Pohang Cultural Foundation Art to undertake an urban regeneration project in Pohang City through the integration of arts and technology. Retired Pohang Iron and Steel engineers eagerly contributed their efforts and translated their skills into works of steel art. Their aim is to replicate something akin to France’s Les Machines de l´île Nantes in Pohang. Les Machines was created by a group of artists and this unprecedented wonderland filled with mega-scale mechanical animals greatly revived the isle following the decline of its shipbuilding business and has made the city a hugely popular tourist destination.
The Design Intelligence Lab. distinguishes itself in two ways: first, the Lab pursues aesthetics over efficiency or performance, and second, its work requires researchers to employ their ‘heart’ as well as their mind, called ‘flow’ or ‘immersions’ in the projects they take on. Such design elements are considered in developing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) machines which constitute yet another research area of the Lab. Professor Park asserts that “As research ultimately contributes to the advancement of human race, philosophy, humanities, and information technology – seemingly variable subjects – all find a point of intersection and fusion”.
Head of Lab
CHANGeUP GROUND 301