A Life Dedicated to the Semiconductor Industry

Zhou Yuanren and Calvin Zhang

In 1958, at the age of 20, Mr. Zhou Yuanren from Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China,  was admitted to the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). He became the first student of a new department at USTC: The Department of Technical Physics.

During his schooling, he studied mathematics under Mr. Hua Luogeng, physics under Mr. Yan Jici and nuclear physics under Mr. Qian Xuesen. He majored in semiconductors and was part of the first generation of semiconductor professionals in China.

In June 2022, Incus donated Kite 2 Smart Personal Sound Amplifiers to the University of Science and Technology of China. After Mr. Zhou started using the Incus hearing device, his hearing condition improved greatly. He was once unable to go out alone. He has started planning domestic travels.

An Old Geek With Hearing Loss

Mr. Zhou has two children, and his wife is in good health. However, due to hearing loss, he could not hear cars approaching when he went out. As a result, Mr. Zhou would seldom go out alone.

At the end of June 2022, Mr. Zhou saw the public welfare activity by Incus in the alumni group of the University of Science and Technology of China. 

Out of trust in the alumni, he also applied and was granted a set. 

In the early stage of use, the old man had a lot of questions about the product. 

Calvin Zhang, who is the CEO of Incus, obtained a bachelor degree in Automation from the same university. He went to visit his fellow alumni and listen to his feedback. 

After some back and forth, Mr. Zhou adopted Kite 2 throughout his life. 

Now he goes out for walks independently recommends the device to other seniors in his community.

Tough School Days

While helping Mr. Zhou set up and adapt to Kite 2, Mr. Zhou shared many precious memories of his studies at USTC.

While at USTC, Mr. Zhou worked extremely hard. Mr. Zhou recalled that classmates would return to the dormitory shortly after midnight. But the lights in the classrooms at USTC remained on all night every night.

It was not only the students who were like this. The teaching assistants (Mr. Zhou called them tutors) were also hard-working. Every time the course instructor designed a test, the teaching assistants had to work on it all night to see if they could get the answers right and understand all the problems. Afterwards, the tests would be given to the students.

Moreover, the test papers designed by the professors at USTC, especially those by Mr. Qian Xuesen, were extremely difficult to achieve a passing score on. Sometimes only 2% would pass. There was a time where the average test score was 30 out of 100 points. To allow more students to pass, Mr. Qian had to modify everyone’s test results by multiplying the square root of the original scores by 10. 

Sense of Responsibility and Love

After graduation, Mr. Zhou joined a national semiconductor institution in China, focusing on the research of MOS transistors.

Mr. Zhou later went to Guangdong for work, and participated in the semiconductor technology development in Hong Kong-funded, Taiwan-funded and state-funded projects. He also contributed to product design of black and white televisions and colour televisions. 

Because of a strong background from physics and semiconductors, Mr. Zhou was able to quickly learn the technical details behind televisions. 

Mr. Zhou recalls that the company once had to overcome a key semiconductor problem, and a supplier offered to help in exchange for sky-high fees. Mr. Zhou was approached by the principals at his company who asked whether he would be able to solve the problem without help from the supplier. After carefully studying the technical details and reading related technical literature, it took Mr. Zhou only two days to achieve a breakthrough. 

At that time, Chinese semiconductor technology was learned from studying technologies from overseas. Mr. Zhou would often use a microscope to study the lithography circuits of mature overseas semiconductor products to understand the specific role of each circuit. He would then review the entire disk and reverse-engineer the semiconductor design principles and logic. After understanding how the products were design, he would identify their shortcomings and come up with ways to optimize performance.

Mr. Zhou has dedicated his whole life to the industrial technology he loves. Because of his love for the industry, he has never complained or been pessimistic, and he has felt a strong sense of satisfaction from solving tough technical problems.

There are many high-caliber seniors like Mr. Zhou who are troubled by age-related hearing loss. At Incus, we hope to help them regain their confidence and let them continue to enjoy their well-deserved retirement.

Colleague at Incus helping Zhou Yuanren set up Kite 2

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