(Hello, this is a draft I've been polishing for the GKS application statement of purpose. I'm planning to apply via embassy to KAIST Culture Technology, SKKU Interaction Science and Sogang Art & Technology. All feedback is welcome.)
Encouraging innovation in South Korea
During my undergraduate studies, I became increasingly interested in the user experience from a human centered perspective as I explored the uses of color to design intuitive and self-explanatory tangible user interfaces. By pursuing a graduate degree, I will achieve a deeper understanding of interaction design concepts and how to apply them in meaningful projects.
Technology is a tool that improves quality of life by facilitating tasks, but many times, devices are designed without considering the different needs of people, causing some groups to be alienated from the benefits of the latest developments. To fulfill the empowering role of technology I would like to use my knowledge to develop a project which can help increase the ease of use of smart devices among people with disabilities.
Personally, I consider the sense of touch is an often-overlooked aspect of the user experience and its applications haven't been fully explored yet. The main potential uses of haptic feedback devices could be to enhance the feeling of immersion in Virtual Reality or to serve as orientation for the visually impaired.
I will do my research on the development and testing of a navigation system to guide blind people in open spaces. This system would recognize speech-based commands and it would emit a series of vibrations as guidance feedback. Considering the time given, an iterative methodology would be appropriate, accommodating enough time for the development of a low fidelity prototype, test it on a group taking, develop a new version based on the feedback, test the new version and prepare the presentation of the results. Each phase of the process would be done in 3 or 4 months.
While studying for my master's degree I intend to be fully involved at my University. This includes participating in events, joining clubs and meeting different people from various backgrounds. I intend to do this in order to build a wide network of contacts so that by the time I finish my degree, these contacts can help me broaden my perspective for future employment. After completing my degree, I would like to work on commercial products rather than continuing studying for a higher degree. My plan is to make use of my contacts and the infraestructure available at the university to find a team of people working on a project which can become commercially successful, possibly using a business incubator to make a startup. I am open and willing to collaborate on software projects in which my skillset can complement the team such as a mobile app or a web service.
South Korea has a healthy environment for the development of technology in which innovation is encouraged by the interlinked collaboration between academia, government and private companies. In this environment, it should be possible to take an academic project initially developed inside the university and polish it further so that it becomes a viable end-user product on the market. I plan to make use of this environment to develop or get involved in the development of a new project which has growth potential. In the best case scenario, if the project becomes successful I would try to negotiate a deal with my teammates which grants me the rights to distribute and sell the product in my country and would return to Mexico.