With the continuing development of brain science, we are now able to explore the brain using images. However, no cure exists for patients suffering from stroke, and the number of stroke patients continues to increase every year. But there may be reason for hope. A new technology recently developed in Korea offers treatment for stroke patients around the world. Let’s learn more about the new paradigm in brain science being created by Professor Hyeon-Min Bae’s team.
“Success is not achieved overnight. I encourage entrepreneurs to envision what you can do in the long run.”
Semiconductors, and planting a seed for more valuable returns
Professor Bae studied electrical engineering at Seoul National University and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has contributed to creating a better world through semiconductors. Through his semiconductor research, he has succeeded in the commercialization of communication technology, including chips which operate with the lowest power requirements, and next-generation wires.
“Semiconductor research is the foundation of the research that I genuinely wish to pursue. One by one, I am creating things that I hope to see in the world.”
Towards a 100 trillion market
Strokes account for the highest portion of payments made by US insurance companies to hospitals. When Professor Bae was in the United States, stroke care and treatment were costing insurance companies 50 trillion, and this is expected to exceed 100 trillion by 2020. Professor Bae saw the value in the stroke treatment market, which is significant in scale, compared to the 350 trillion IT market and 300 trillion automobile market.
“I was shocked that there was no effective cure for stroke. I began working on it with the simple thought that effective diagnosis would help in the treatment of stroke.
Enabling fast and accurate diagnosis
Existing brain imaging systems are large-scale equipment used in hospitals, or smaller, poor-resolution equipment. They are very expensive and cannot be easily transported. Using such equipment is naturally costly. Professor Bae developed a brain imaging system that compensates for the aforementioned weaknesses and enables quick, accurate diagnosis. The system is smaller in size but offers higher resolution, and the cost incurred by patients is approximately 50 million won, or 1/10 the existing amount.
“Early diagnosis of stroke was difficult in the past. Also, there were no devices capable of detecting relapses after surgery. The new portable system can be used in households, allowing early diagnosis and detection of possible relapses.”
1)“If you cannot create a world of your own, you remain in the world of others.” –Paul Hogan
2) Creating a never-before-seen technology
Professor Bae’s technology is the first of its kind. Because he was creating a new market that had never existed before, it was not easy to attract investments. There were many who raised doubts about Korea’s technological standards and the value of the new market. Based on a strong conviction that the technology was essential for the development of humanity, Professor Bae continued to conduct research for the benefit of the world, instead of simply doing what he was good at. He gradually worked towards achieving his goals, and his determination soon won him sufficient funds and commercial success.
“It is more important to identify and fulfill the needs of the world, instead of simply doing what I am good at. Success is not achieved overnight. I encourage entrepreneurs to envision what you can do in the long run.”
Changing the world through semiconductors
“By developing more highly-integrated brain imaging devices, I am thinking of ways for such equipment to become more widespread, not only in neurology, but also in neurosurgery and other departments. I will exert all efforts to usher in an era in which we can observe brain activity with our eyes.”
Professor Bae’s research is expected to be applied to various fields. The pocket ultrasonic device is a good substitute for stethoscopes, and allows hospitals to employ more convenient surgical devices. The world awaits more of his innovative pursuits.