GITAI, founded by CEO, Sho Nakanose is about developments of Avatar Robots for space developments. GITAI provides a humanoid telepresence robot-like “Avatar” for science experiments in space stations.
Having met CEO Nakanose at Singularity University before Japan, I knew first hand there was a strength of determination and focus that I had known before. I knew from gut instinct that this is going to be a successful startup from sheer determination.
During the Global Solutions Program when one could say we were put through an intensive program of Singularity and learning all the emergent technologies, CEO Nakanose was one of the few people who worked around the clock. When I say work around the clock, I do not necessarily mean just sitting at a desk or having a tool at hand. One could sense a brain that does not sleep.
When everyone was out relaxing, CEO Nakanose was developing the next step to his Avatar Robot. No event, however important seemed to faze him.
Here’s my take why GITAI is successful:
1. Sheer determination
When I spent about 3 months in Silicon Valley, one meets many startups of all shapes and sizes. CEO Nakanose and GITAI was different in every sense. They were not just lean by design but with an eagle eye focus that I rarely saw in other entrepreneurs. The mind of an engineer? But from experience, having also engaged with some others this was not the same. It was the mind of an engineer with a goal so focused, I felt like I was engaging an athlete. The difference between entrepreneurs who don’t succeed and do succeed is a strength of the mind I believe. They put their imagination to work, and never talk or think about failure. And when it happens, be it through testing or prototyping, they are triggered or inspired to go further. Flexibility and adaption, learning and re-learning and sheer determination is something that could be challenging if entrepreneurs are not focused particularly when there is a lot of noise in the sector.
source: International Space Station
GITAI aims to produce a remote-controlled robot to replace astronaut’s operations in commercial space stations. Due to the challenges and limitations of movements in humans in relation to space operations and specifically low-earth orbit space station, the task is rather challenging and at a high cost. The goal of GITAI is to lower the cost and to replace such tasks with robots in low earth orbit and to carry tasks on site. I think astronauts would always have a special place in the eyes of humanity and as stated under UNOOSA. The difference is in mentality; where it is not a selected few whom would have the privilege to go to space and why not make life easier if robots could do the same, or be it at least free up some time so that astronauts or future human space flight activities could change?
As an early adopter of technology, I believe GITAI would have an incremental impact as to how current operations are done in space particularly in relation to the International Space Station. In the same way that robots play a certain role on earth, primarily having a positive impact in terms of saving time, energy and resources, I think the same is intended for space.
3. Robot – Human link
I remember the first conversation I had with CEO Nakanose and it was teleportation. For a morning conversation, it was not light by any sense. However, I could see that the thoughts and ideas were well thought it; clear in the mind of a CEO. The kind of imagination that you could see clearly in one minds’ eye.
Imagine you are in a different country or planet and you want to see a family member or friend? If you can’t physically go there, how about teleporting oneself through an avatar? Whilst the concept is not the same as having a cloned robot, the notion of presence is the same. On first brush, it may be difficult to grasp, though if one spends enough time to consider the possibilities, it is rather a logical and simple way to cut across the challenges of our multi-dimensional life.
There are many people – students, corporates, businesses that have to travel across locations in usually, calm or otherwise ridiculous schedules. Imagine there was an important event, like graduation, operation or occasion that demanded your urgent presence. Having a robot avatar can serve not just a societal but more importantly a personal need. The creation of a robot avatar is not the stuff of anime, but rather meeting a 6th-dimensional need.
4. The TEAM
GITAI is a strong team, not least because from what I understand, they strengthened their resolve and goal as a team quickly. How did they do it? I have a sense that as a flat organisation, one gets the freedom to do what they need to do and also working like a like-minded body. ‘Do what you do’, CEO Nakanose once reminded me. It does not matter what the role might be, though simply knowing that what you do is important is great validity for know there is no judgement; no role or task too small, because it all adds up.
5. Will power
It is a rare occasion sometimes to find someone stronger than you. When you think you have pulled through in the school of life, you find someone who just happened to have gone that much further and it is a privilege to meet someone who has climbed a mountain higher than you. CEO Nakanose is a person of few words, but when he speakers you know he has a message to say, and you’d better listen – to your advantage.
The moments he mentioned for me to walk my own path, and do my own thing, I may never imagine any obvious impact on me, though now I know he has been right all along.
Great entrepreneurs lead by example in the showing and doing, not necessarily just by words but by proof. Whilst we may have different methods to get to the same destination, I appreciate having the opportunity to see the power of such strong will power in an entrepreneur.
Photo taken with CEO Nakanose, Astronaut Chiaki Mukai, Dr. Toyotaka Kozuki and I at IAC2018.
Written by Helen Tung
Emergent Tech Advisor/ MINERVA fellow- Space Applications & GNSS, EU – Japan Centre
Creative Convenor, EU-Japan NewSpace2060 Illustrated Haiku Competition 2019
#GITAI #NewSpace2060 @EUJapanCentre