The new Space Avatar Project partnership is looking to develop and demonstrate the use of space avatars in three main business or service areas: remote space travel; remote work assistance; and remote space-themed experiences.
The project is the latest to be selected for the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative
Pictured above is an imagined scenario for remote communication-focused space avatars.
In terms of the responsibilities of the individual partners, the company avatarin will be looking after the overall planning and organisation, the development of remote communication-focused space avatars and a high-performance space avatar with hands, and planning for remote on-site tour programs to be run at Jaxa facilities.
avatariun was spun out of ANA Holdings on 1 April 2020 with the mission “to expand humanity’s potential by offering new abilities through avatars”.
For its part, Jaxa will be using its experience from past involvement in human space exploration missions, particularly through operation of “KIBO” facilities, the development of robotic systems for astronaut assistance, and study on safety of human space missions.
It will also be responsible for the remote work assistance service, consultation for plans related to astronaut assistance, and for the remote space-themed experience program, supporting demonstrations at the space museum in Tanegashima Space Center and other JAXA facilities.
Finally, The University of Tokyo School of Engineering will be responsible for the the development of a “self-position estimation system for remote communication-focused space avatars deployed in the International Space Station (ISS)”.
The development project will be led by Professor Yairi Takehisa, a specialist in artificial intelligence, from the university’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology.
avatarin and the Japanese Space Agency have collaborated on a previous “space avatar project partnership” that ran from September 2018 to December 2020.
In November 2020, as part of this project they report, avatarin and JAXA organised a technology demonstration session in which a space avatar was deployed inside the Japanese experiment module “KIBO” on the (ISS). The avatar was then made available for the general public to operate from a non-laboratory, public setting on Earth.