Sunday, November 6, 2011

Robotics and Korean Creativity

I have frequently heard criticisms of the Korean approach to education that suggest it relies too much on memorization and testing and does not encourage creativity.  That is partly why the Washington Post article about Virginia Tech professor Dennis Hong caught my eye this morning.  As I suspected, he is one of the more than six million Koreans living overseas, away from their home country.  The article describes how Professor Hong grew up and eventually became a star in humanoid robotics in the U.S.
Some years ago, I had an interesting encounter with Sangbae Kim who, as a Stanford graduate student, was centrally involved in the creation of Stickybot, a gecko-like robot.   Dr. Kim was kind enough to stop by my office at the Fulbright building and we had a fascinating discussion of his background and how he became interested in this field.   He is now a professor at MIT and in  charge of their new Biomimetic Robotics Lab. The Youtube video of Stickybot embedded in my blog post is still worth viewing one more time.
Draw your own conclusions about Korean creativity.

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