A new interview article for Mujinian voice series! Today I talked with Nori, who is working as a System Integration Engineer at Mujin.
After graduating from the prestigious robotics laboratory, “JSK,” at the University of Tokyo, he gained valuable experience at major enterprises, and joined Mujin last year. While he has such a brilliant career, he is super friendly, and I enjoyed talking with him 🙂
ーー How did you become interested in robots and integration?
I’ve liked making things since I was small. I used to build a wood deck and shelves, or to fiddling cars with my father. From these experiences, I’ve been thinking that it would be great if I could work for inventing things which are helpful and make people excited.
When I entered the University of Tokyo, I had decided to go on to either architectural or mechanical field, which is related to making things.
Through lectures and laboratory visits during freshman, I realized architecture is more about art, while mechanics, especially robotics, is still developing in technology and has huge possibilities to be able to provide totally new values to the world. Then I decided to choose the robotics field.
The reason why I chose “JSK laboratory” is that they are focusing on “Moving robots.” It might sound too simple, but I do think it is very important. In order to make robots used in society, first of all, they have to move.
It was appearing for me that JSK was focusing on how to move and how to implement but not just working on research paper. There I majored in hardware and mechatronics in robotics, and researched on mechanical control and design method for humanoid robots.
ーー How was your career like?
When I was choosing my first career, my criteria was ”practical application of robotics technology.” I wanted to create practical products with my accumulated knowledge. But I didn’t consider the industrial robots field at that time, as I thought it would be difficult to apply my studies in such a mature market.
After all, I decided to join the mechatronics technology team at a semiconductor manufacturing equipment supplier as I could practically use my mechatronics technology skills. While the semiconductor field has been quite mature already, it still requires quality improvements. In the field where automation is ultimately required, I thought I could make use of my robotics technology.
After I joined, I found myself fulfilled as I could learn a lot such as high reliability systems design and manufacturing technology through the manufacturing process at a large enterprise.
On the other hand, when I reflected on myself and considered how I wanted to be, I realized I still had the strong desire to be involved in robot productization.
Then, I decided to change my job to product planning engineer at a robotics company. I was in charge of productization of humanoid robots for industry. It was exciting to be involved in the whole process such as customer hearing, robot design and productization.
Particularly I believe I could experience the most fulfilling part of robotics, designing the functions by reflecting direct feedback from customers!
ーー Why did you become interested in working at Mujin?
While the previous job was rewarding, most of the customers were research institutes and research divisions at large companies. I would say the products were not yet completely real solutions producing benefits as a business.
“How could we make robots familiar and useful for society…?” I was wondering.
When I happened to go for a drink with my senior at JSK who is working at Mujin, I asked the same question. And he was like, “why don’t you visit our office once?”
So, I visited Mujin for lunch. There I saw Rosen, the CTO, talking with engineers and sales with bread in his hand. What I was impressed was how they discussed ways of realizing customers’ needs with robotics technology. It was so natural!
“They are just naturally having a chat to make truly useful robots as products in real life!”
I’d just realized that that environment was THE answer. At the same time, I suddenly became eager to join Mujin. And… here I am!
ーー How is it like to work at Mujin?
“I’m really enjoying it!”
I can devote myself to solving customers’ problems and as a result, the robots we delivered are actually being used at a number of customers’ sites! It always gives me the sense of achievement to see the robots working there through remoto cameras or to hear customers’ appreciation.
One of the great things about Mujin is that the company let us do a wide range of work depending on their abilities. It’s been only 10 months since I joined, I feel like I have gained the same amount of experience as 10 years at a regular company.
In addition, there are many talented engineers, I can always learn a lot, while the open atmosphere allows me to work, having an appropriate feeling of tension.
ーー What’s your responsibility at Mujin?
I’m a member of system engineering division. My team is in charge of the whole process of system and layout design, robot coordination, installation and establishment support.
I am working as a mechanical engineer, and in charge of robot hand and system layout design and equipment selection. I also work on the design of new grippers, which requires planning, prototype verification, material selection, product design and operation verification.
I think I am utilizing my experience at university and previous companies.
Though I majored in mechatronics at JSK, I was also using the interpreted language for robotics experiments. This helps me to understand robot systems at Mujin.
Also, I feel I am making the most use of production experience, design technology skills and robotics knowledge gained through my previous career.
One of my major achievements is the robot hand for the world’s first Multipick depalletizing robot shown at iREX 2019, which picks two cases at the same time. Another one is the robot cell for Fast Retailing we announced last year. I’m excited that these are going to be operated 24/7 at the actual customers’ sites!
ーー How do you feel about the culture at Mujin?
I love this atmosphere where we can always challenge new things and open culture. Even though the company is getting bigger, we can freely communicate with other teams such as software engineering, project management, sales, or back office.
Also, I like how the whole company culture comes from our CTO, Rosen, who faces each problem sincerely. When some trouble happens, he never disguises it and tries to solve the root of the problem with the latest technologies. His positive and sincere attitude always inspires us.
ーー You’ve experienced large enterprises and Mujin, but how do you think about joining Mujin soon after university graduation?
Both large companies and Mujin have rather positive and negative sides. At a large company, you can learn well-structured processes and systems, which makes my work easier. On the other hand, in order to be highly evaluated, communication and presentation skills are important even if you have strong technological skills.
At Mujin, you can apply your technical strength to the real world, and feel the achievements directly. There are many things we haven’t done yet, so it would be a great place for those who want to have a unique experience with your technology or to change the world better with your own hands.
We have a wide range of open positions, so if your interest matches one of them, Mujin can be fit for you.
I would be happy to work with those who are passionate about producing valuable things to the world with your skills like myself!
Let’s make the future together!