The new generation of robots SPHERES just arrived in the International Space Station. These cubes robots, whose brain is a smartphone, will enable Google to test a concept straight from science fiction: a myriad of inter-ENTERED them to accomplish a task robots. The first generation, based on Nexus S, dated 2011. The new robots will benefit from the Google 3D vision of Tango project.
Android smartphones in free flight
It is in 2011 that the first “cubsat” small cube-shaped robots were sent into orbit in the International Space Station, ISS. These are then fitted as a Nexus S smartphone as a brain. Propelled by jets of carbon dioxide, these robots could move the reports to each other, get training solution were validated during parabolic flights. New SPHERES robots just been delivered by the Cygnus capsule to the ISS.
These new robots are equipped with a Google Tango smartphone. They will be both more powerful, have more sensors, and especially 3D vision experimental smartphone. The astronauts will start scanning within traditionally very crowded, their station. And the robots will have a three-dimensional map of their environment, they can then deploy and develop training in this small universe. As to cleaning the station instead of astronauts, is asking a lot for those flying cubes. By cons, NASA suggests scenarios where they could engage in noise measurements, quality and airflow or video instruments.
Sources : “Astronauts to Test Free-Flying “Housekeeper” Robots”, NASA, 17 juillet 2014
“Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES)”, NASA, 15 juillet 2014
“NASA to send 3D Google smartphones for robots to space station”, Reuters, 7 juillet 2014