With “remote” DX, JAL and ANA open up the future, transporting remote islands to space avatars

Japan Airlines (JAL) and ANA Holdings (ANAHD) are focusing on Digital Transformation (DX), which goes beyond deepening existing enterprises. We still intend to look for new companies that while narrowing the targets, will help the mid- to long-term future. “remote” is one of the trends that both businesses are paying attention to.

Manipulating Earth’s Outer Space Avatars

Avatarin (Avatar Inn, Tokyo / Chuo), which was sold by Digital Design Lab, the new business division of ANAHD, and started as an ANAHD subsidiary in April 2020. We are working to extend the usage of avatars in different areas, such as renting a “new me” self-propelled remote-controlled robot to commercial facilities and cultural facilities, so that from a remote location you can explore the local situation and buy goods. There are.

One of the applications of avatars to which avatarin pays heed is outer space. In November 2020, we worked on a demonstration project in conjunction with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in which an avatar was mounted on the International Space Station (ISS) in the Japanese experiment module ‘Kibo’ and controlled remotely.

I mounted a “space avatar” terminal fitted with a camera that can rotate 360 degrees left and right. For service, the touch pad mounted at the event venue in Toranomon, Tokyo is used. The touchpad is disk-shaped and has four up down, left and right cursor functions. You can switch the Space Avatar camera up, down, left and right by touching this touchpad, and check the inside of the Kibo.

Communication between the ISS and Kibo and the ground is normally allowed from the point of view of cyber security only from inside JAXA’s accredited facilities.

It was important to find ways to allow remote control without explicitly attaching the general equipment touchpad and JAXA. Therefore, we first demonstrated where we touched the touchpad on the monitor mounted at the JAXA facility in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and built a mechanism for taking an image and examining the display screen with a camera again and sending the specifics of the process to Kibo.

The procedure data was sent back in this demonstration experiment and the internal image was sent back. Avatarin, however, plans to proceed in the future to perform demonstration tests with JAXA to support the work of astronauts and to use avatars for remote work, such as on the moon.