To capitalize on one of Jeju’s most precious resources — its fresh underground spring water — Jeju National University (JNU) has started a special semester-long EduWater product development competition program.
Sixteen teams, combined of graduate and undergraduate students, are pitted against each other in an innovative battle to build a unique water product. At the end of the semester in December the winning project will be decided based on its creativity compared to those already on the market, how difficult the product was to conceive and manufacture, and on its economic viability and design. The team with the most viable product will be awarded 2 million won.
One team in contention, named Flubber, is attempting to transform Jeju’s mineral-rich underground water into a palatable and healthy beverage.
The team consists of second-year JNU undergraduate students Kim You Kyung, Lee Jong Kyoung, Baek Eun Ran, Namgung Jin, and Jang Jin Soo. They have set out to commercialize and brand Jeju’s underground water in a completely new fashion. Presently the underground water, which has been filtered for several years through the island’s basalt rock, is so rich in minerals that its taste is rather strong and unpalatable. To turn it into a unique Jeju product they have combined it with gelatin and certain acids to create a jello-like drink.
“That water is full of minerals but if you drink the water with high minerals it tastes kind of iffy, but if you make it into a Jello texture it reduces the flavor,” said team leader Namgung Jin.
It is currently a work in progress and they have transformed this mineral-rich water into a beverage which has a thick texture but tastes like water. But even with this accomplishment under their belts they still have bigger dreams for their product. In fact, they hope to make a uniquely Jeju product by infusing the water with Jeju flavors like tangerine.
Their reason for doing this? Lee Jong Kyoung simply said, “We wanted to be creative and do something different.”
Another team in contention for the 2 million won prize is Addinang, consisting of Ryu Hyun Jin, Jeong Seong Kil, Im Hwi Taek, Choi Na Young, and Lee Gibbeum. They have a very different approach to creating a uniquely Jeju water product. They are in the process of developing a Jeju-specific massage technique.
Addinang has created a massage tool out of Japanese cedar and basalt.
The team, which has traveled to China, Germany, and the mainland to study massage, realized that Jeju lacked its own therapeutic signature and wanted to develop something unique for the island. They said that tourists come here not only for sightseeing but to also experience physical activities and a uniquely Jeju relaxation method would be a good way to brand the island.
Along with the massage tool they are also creating a manual of massage techniques for which the apparatus can be used.
Over the course of the semester they have become close friends and the team is considering opening their own massage shop here in Jeju irrespective of whether they win the coveted prize.
All teams are off to an impressive start as the halfway mark in EduWater’s competition approaches. The uniquely Jeju products they are currently developing could be a part of your future experience.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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