NASA to send 3D Google smartphones for robots to space station
By Noel RandewichMOUNTAIN VIEW Calif. Mon Jul 7, 2014 11:27am EDT1 associated with 3. Smart SPHERES ...
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NASA to send 3D Google smartphones for robots to space station
NASA to send 3D Google smartphones for robots to space
By Noel Randewich
MOUNTAIN VIEW Calif. Mon Jul 7, 2014 11:27am EDT
1 associated with 3. Smart SPHERES project manager Chris Provencher demonstrates among
NASA's robots at the Ames Study Middle within Mountain View, California July 2, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Noel Randewich
MOUNTAIN VIEW Calif. (Reuters) - Google smartphones along with next-generation 3D sensing
technology are regarding in order to blast into orbit, where they are usually going to end up getting
the brains as well as eyes associated with ball-shaped hovering robots on the International Area
NASA plans to make use of the particular handsets in order to beef up its Synchronized Situation
Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, which usually could eventually take
over daily chores regarding astronauts or perhaps handle risky obligations outside of the vessel.
The phones, part of Google's Project Tango augmented reality initiative, will be aboard a new cargo
spacecraft scheduled for you to launch upon July 11.
Inspired by a scene from your movie Alien exactly where Luke Skywalker spars having a hovering
globe, the actual soccer-ball sized robots can be guided around the area station's microgravity
interior, propelled by simply tiny blasts associated with CO2 in regarding an inch for each second.
When NASA sent its SPHERES towards the space station inside 2006 these were able to precise
movement nevertheless little else. Throughout 2010, engineers from NASA's Ames Analysis center
within Mountain View, California, sought out ways to create the actual devices smarter.
"We wished to add communication, the camera, improve the particular processing capability,
accelerometers along with other sensors. As i was scratching our heads considering what to do, we
realized the solution was at our hands," Smart SPHERES article to video creator project manager
Chris Provencher advised Reuters within an interview final week. "Let's just use smartphones."
They bought phones in best Buy as well as altered them by adding added batteries along using a
shatter-proof displays prior to sending the actual handsets for the room station, where astronauts
utilized Velcro to add these towards the facet of the SPHERES. In Which gave your robots an
abundance of new sensing along with visual capabilities - but nevertheless not really enough to
maneuver round the station just as easily as the engineers wanted.
Looking to improve the robots, NASA lately turned to the experimental smartphones Google
developed in order to encourage innovation in its push pertaining to consumer mobile devices which
could make a sensation of space just as easily as people do.
The Project Tango handsets add a motion-tracking camera plus an infrared depth sensor much like
Microsoft's Kinect add-on for your Xbox. Your sensors will detect sharp aspects inside your room
station as well as create a 3D map which allows the SPHERES navigate through one module for you
"This type involving capability is exactly what we'd like for a robot that's going to complete tasks
anywhere inside your area station," Provencher said. "It provides to end up being able to have a very
robust navigation system."
NASA's phones have been split open in order that the touchscreen and also sensors face outward
when mounted on the robots. They Will also include space-tested batteries along with plastic
connectors to change the Velcro.
Google desires your technology showcased by simply Project Tango to turn out to always be able to
be ubiquitous, helping retailers generate thorough 3D representations involving their shops and
enabling gamers make their homes into virtual battlegrounds.
It also teamed on top of LG recently in order to launch a Project Tango tablet to encourage
developers to experiment having its features.
(Reporting through Noel Randewich; Editing by simply Ken Wills)