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Second first step

Second First Steps


4 minute read

Watching a baby’s first steps.
Witnessing the heartwarming moment of their very first challenge.
But for some, this precious moment is not a happy memory.
What can we do for them? What can the mobility do for those who have lost the ability to walk?

Our "Second First Steps" project begins with a letter from para-archer Park Jun-beom,
who paralyzed the lower half of his body due to an unexpected accident.
Our mission is to help people who have lost their hopes and dreams and encourage them to get back on their feet again.
At Hyundai Motors Company, we develop technology in order to resonate with the people, families and their hearts.

Dreaming a future where humans and robots are together Hyundai Motors’ Robot Platform Team

Hyundai Motors’ Robotics LAB is devoted to research and development of robots based on its philosophy of “Technology development for humans.”
H-MEX is one of the many technologies developed at our Robotics LAB which not only enables elders but also people who have paraplegia to walk and climb steps.

Hello! This is Park Jun-beom.

A letter was sent to Hyundai Motors one day in the summer of 2019. The sender was Park Jun-beom, a Korean National Team para-archer. This four-page letter carried his sincere story in a rather composed words. A story of how he got the disability and how his life had changed afterwards. It was more than just a letter. Bigger than a story.

A compelling drama of a man with a relentless determination by which we were moved greatly. As we are preparing for future mobility, it seemed to guide us to the right direction. We questioned: can our robotics technology help Park Jun-beom walk again?

This is how our “Second First Steps” project began.

Park jun beom

First Steps

Park Jun-beom’s mother vividly remembers his first steps. Born prematurely at 7 months and weighing only 1.8 kgs, he first encountered the world from an incubator but grew healthier and took his first steps at 15 months. That first step taken with a smile and confidence was a step up to the challenge for Park Jun-beom and a step into happiness for his parents.

First steps

At eighteen, an unexpected accident

May 5th, 2008. An accident changed Park Jun-beom’s and his family’s life forever.
He never forgets every second of that day from morning to night.
Heading to the library with his friends to study for their midterm exams.
The echoing voices of the paramedics right after the accident.
The moment he opened his eyes in the emergency room.
And seeing his father’s tears for the first time in his eighteen years of life.
His thoracic vertebrae were damaged from the accident.
Despite the numerous operations and rehabilitation, he was forever impaired and stuck to a wheelchair.

Despair and Goldfish

Depression struck. He isolated himself from his friends, girlfriend and even his parents. For over a year, he was stuck in his room watching TV and playing games. Then, he got goldfish. The irony that he had to look up at people. And that they always looked down at him. It was difficult for him to endure those stares, as it reminded him of his disability. His goldfish in the fish tank. He never had to look up to see eye-to-eye. They were his friends who understood and comforted him.

Despair and goldfish

a New Challenge

It was the sport of archery that guided Park Jun-beom out of his box and into the world again. He picked up the bow at a disability center which his therapist recommended. Aiming at a target through a narrow bowsight, he could forget about the world. One shot after another, he became better and better with practice. And he started aiming at a new target: To become a para-archer for the Korean National Team.

Archery a new challenge
10 years of waiting

10 years of Waiting

Winning many competitions secured him a place at a corporate team. And finally, in 2019, he qualified for the Korean National Team. No more depression. No more isolation. But a golden dream he had for himself. He dreamed to be free from the wheelchair after spending 10 years in it. As he was with his goldfish, he wanted to see the world eye-to-eye and have quality time with his friends. Park Jun-beom has waited for 10 years for his dream to come true.

We wanted to give back the quality time
they missed the most..

A New Beginning

Second First Steps

October, 2019. We gathered in Hyundai Motors Robotics Lab for Park Jun-beom’s second first steps. Hyundai Motors Robot Platform Team was there to help him walk again for the first time after 10 years by building a wearable robotic suit. To do so, we conducted numerous amounts of research, went through several phases of development, and completed multiple rounds of trials successfully. We were ready and confident. Nevertheless, any mistake or miscalculation could end up being dangerous to Park Jun-beom. Park Jun-beom wore the exoskeleton suit. He took a big breath and slowly put his weight on his legs. He pulled himself up off the wheelchair. There he stood and started walking. Much the same as his first steps, Park Jun-beom took his second first steps towards his parents.

Park jun beom wore the exoskeleton suit
Park jun beom walking
Park jun beom walked

Our Next Steps

The Second First Steps Project started from one letter, which developed and became a part of our 'Because of You' campaign. This remarkable journey has left us with one lesson; technology supports people and should mean progress for humanity. Park Jun-beom’s second first step was the ‘first’ first step for Hyundai Motors Robotics. We will continue to use our technology to redefine disability and help you rise to the impossible with a vision of working together for a better future. For you, we will reimagine the future of time through mobility solutions. We will take our next steps, because of you.

Our next steps


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