D-Lab of MIT, starting businesses with students


In my recent posting I wrote about D-Lab of MIT.  Mr. Endo, a student at this Lab, came to visit me upon his travel to Japan.  I asked Dr. William Saito who is helping me with research on innovations and educational activities to join and we all had nice conversations.  Mr. Endo is currently enrolled in PhD course at MIT, working hard on his research while participating also in D-Lab. He had his undergraduate and master’s education at Keio University.

The theme that Mr. Endo and his group is working on at D-Lab is prosthetics (artificial legs, arms, etc.) ? to provide affordable and good prosthetics to people in need at developing countries.   There are many people who suffer loss of their limbs through traffic accidents, wars, or land mines.  Prosthetics made in developing countries are often not so useful because of low qualities, poor fitting, tendency to break easily, etc.  Such weaknesses are understandable if you think about the infrastructures or technologies they have at hand in these countries.  So Mr. Endo came up with this great plan of developing good prosthetics and providing them to people in need to help them become more independent ? financially and physically.  It is a wonderful project.

Img_1889_top_2 Photo: From left Dr. Saito, Mr. Endo, and myself.

Many of these projects expand into social activities or businesses but then quite a number of them will fail and disappear, which is very understandable.  However, those listed here  are still continuing meaning 26% of projects that deveoped into businesses are still alive.  Dr. William Saito responded immediately saying “This is an astonishingly good rate!”  I totally agree with him.  Dr. Saito himself launched a business when he was a student at U.S. and made it a great success. 

I understand that Mr. Endo is also involved in development of high quality prosthetic legs that have potentials for enabling the atheletes to break world records. Apparently he has high goals and broad views.  Mr. Endo also said that he has an experience of having worked with Dr. Hiroaki Kitano in the project on AIBO at Sony Computer Science Laboratories Ltd. when he was studying at Keio University.