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This former astronaut says running a start-up is harder than a spacewalk, or summiting Mount Everest

Upon returning, Parazynski said he wanted to build a company based on what he’d learned as an astronaut, from collaborating with colleagues around the world to training and designing things in virtual reality.

In 2016, Parazynski founded Fluidity Technologies in Houston. The company’s first product, the FT Aviator, is a fancy joystick used to fly DJI drones as smoothly as possible with just one hand. Parazynski’s ultimate goal is to adapt this controller technology to work with surgical robots in “tele-operations.”

With tele-operations, a specialist in Houston can use a surgical robot to perform a complex procedure on a patient anywhere in the world and get the same kind of outcome as if the two people were in the same operating room. But this requires absolute precision.

Existing controllers, for both drones and surgical robots, look like something you’d use to play games on an Xbox. They require two hands, which can cause inadvertent motions, and they can take thousands of hours of training to use effectively.

Parazynski says the FT Aviator should be easier to master.