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NASA sending Google’s Project Tango smartphone to space to improve flying robots

20
Apr
2014

An experimental NASA robot could get a big upgrade thanks to Google. The two parties have been working together to integrate Googles Project Tango smartphone prototype — which can detect and map the world around it using a series of sensors — onto NASAs SPHERES — brightly colored, volleyball-sized robots designed to float around the International Space Station and assist astronauts. Right now, the SPHERES can perform basic navigation inside of a limited section of the ISS by using ultrasound and detecting infrared light, but using Tangos more detailed detection methods, NASA hopes to let the robots explore more of the station and navigate entirely on their own. This is no ordinary upgrade, Terry Fong, director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASAs Ames Research Center, says in a statement.

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