On October 10 last year, the “X-Day for EX-KIDS” festival was held at X-GARAGE, a space for creating infinite possibilities. The purpose of the event was to make X-GARAGE’s range of equipment and various facilities more accessible to not only KU members but also neighboring residents, while disseminating the creative “makers’ culture”. The welcoming atmosphere of the festival drew favorable responses from participants, as it led them to reminisce about their childhood memories and stimulated their curiosity.
Celebrating the Creative Culture of KU and Restoring the World’s First Autonomous-Driving Car
On the first basement floor of the International Studies Hall where X-GARAGE is located, various types of booth were arranged, allowing participants to take a stamp tour, use toy claw machines, see a tunnel exhibition, take part in RC car racing, solve large puzzles, and use laser engraving machines. In particular, the toy claw machine and the RC car racing booths attracted participants’ attention as they were created with X-GARAGE’s own laser cutter and 3D printer.
“KU л-Ville supports both students and members of the general public who are interested in constructing prototypes and engaging in creative activities through KU Makerspace and X-GARAGE. We ask for your continued support and interest in the programs and related events offered by the KU л-Ville Administration Team,” said Chung Seok, Director of the team.
Moreover, a significant project was also carried out on that very day. “KARV-1”, the world’s first autonomous driving car developed in 1992 by a team led by Professor Min-Hong Han (Department of Industrial Engineering), which had been left unattended in the basement of the International Studies Hall, was newly restored using cultural artifact preservation technology. In a world first, KARV-1 travelled around a city in 1993. The audacious challenge of devising such technology at a time when no one else had conceived of it reflects KU’s deeply rooted, technologically creative culture.
X-GARAGE exhibits its spirit of creative challenge in Makerspace and л-Ville, but it also has another dimension. Under the slogan, “Unconditional Support Close at Hand,” this space aims to support KU students as well as members of the general public who plan to start university-centered businesses which are dedicated to creating and improving prototypes. Up until last year October, X-GARAGE has supported 19 startup teams by providing facilities, equipment and production-related tools, as well as design consulting and legal and patent consulting services. In addition, it has given people access to facility equipment and technology free of charge and offered help with the development of plans through inter-institutional networking and collaboration.
On Tuesday, September 17 X-GARAGE took another step forward when, in order to upgrade its prototyping capacities, it reached an agreement with Autodesk Korea, a global company that provides 2D and 3D modeling and design software to various firms, including those in the engineering, manufacturing, and media sectors. Both organizations are currently working together to disseminate a 'maker' culture by engaging in technology exchange, which they do by sharing expertise, by jointly employing the main Autodesk programs, and by fostering educational and technological synergies.
Making Ideas a Reality
Professional Prototypes Leading to Market-Ready Goods
The creative culture that X-GARAGE fosters aims to allow anyone to make their ideas a reality, from the initial conception forward. Aspiring entrepreneurs can use X-GARAGE equipment to produce quality prototypes before entering the stage of making finished products. When attracting investors or agreeing trade contracts, presenting an almost complete prototype is more effective than merely describing it. In order to enable this, X-GARAGE gives access to high-end state-of-the-art devices that allow entrepreneurs to demonstrate the unique color of their prototypes alongside the durability and reliability of their products with the help of 3D scanners, 3D printers, laser cutters, and plotters.
The X-GARAGE premises were created through the renovation of the old parking lot of the International Studies Hall, located on the KU campus. It is a perfect space, as it allows delivery vehicles to easily come and go. Although located in KU, it is available to anyone who needs space to work on technology-related projects. It is comprised of spacious yet congenial and organized working spaces, including a training room, two equipment rooms, three storage spaces, and four workshops. The structure of the space allows people to conveniently access production-related tools and materials with ease.
X-GARAGE will expand the idea base for startups while lowering entry barriers. It aims to make a significant contribution to the establishment of a university-centered startup ecosystem. It will collaborate with a variety of startup-related institutions located within the campus town through a step-by-step startup support model called the “Crew-Runner-Builder”, and a systematic program for making connections with local communities and the private sector. Moreover, by developing and expanding the creative 'maker' culture of KU, it is hoped that X-GARAGE will act as a springboard for the cultivation of a new generation of innovative industries.