By Woo Jae-yeon
SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- As a growing number of South Korean companies attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas each year, so has the number of young tech students who are eager to learn global tech trends firsthand.
This year, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), one of South Korea's top tech universities, is sending 181 students -- the most ever by a South Korean university -- to the influential tech trade show to instill in them an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.
"CES used to serve as a global launchpad for new products by tech businesses, but it has evolved to become a must-attend event to witness technology innovations in a variety of fields ranging from wellness, agriculture even to foods," Kim Moo-hwan, the president of POSTECH, said in a recent email interview with Yonhap News Agency.
"For tech students who are responsible for leading technological advancement, CES is a venue to learn how to lead a life of today and learn the technology of tomorrow," he added.
The school covers all travel expenses for the 181 students, who entered the university in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted campus life, with most classes going virtual and in-person interactions being minimized.
"The group of students enjoyed the least of what the school has to offer due to the pandemic," he said.
POSTECH will showcase a dozen of young and innovative startups, including the graphene-based heater maker Graphene Square, which received Best of Innovation award at CES 2023, within Eureka Park, an exhibition arena for global startups.
Also on display is Lutra, the creator of Clam, a mobile app to turn a photo into a non-fungible token or NFT. The CES 2023 Innovation Award winner is founded by an undergraduate student.
Kim said there is growing interest among students to use technology to help safeguard human security and promote sustainability, as the world is experiencing devastating impacts of global warming.
POSTECH's EcoTect, a startup founded by students of the chemical engineering department, will showcase environmentally friendly ocean buoys, made of mushroom roots and used coffee grounds, to replace plastic ones.
Participating in the CES event is part of the school's efforts to instill challenging spirits and strong, resilient mindset that helps students recover from any failure, Kim said.
"Also important is teaching business ethics. Even if one fails, he or she can rise up again based on trust with investors or co-workers," he added.
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