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NASA to send 3D Google smartphones for robots to space station

07
Jul
2014

By Noel Randewich MOUNTAIN VIEW Calif. (Reuters) – Google smartphones with next-generation 3D sensing technology are about to blast into orbit, where they will become the brains and eyes of ball-shaped hovering robots on the International Space Station. NASA plans to use the handsets to beef up its Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, which could eventually take over daily chores for astronauts or even handle risky duties outside of the vessel. The phones, part of Googles Project Tango augmented reality initiative, will be aboard a cargo spacecraft scheduled to launch on July 11. Inspired by a scene from the movie Star Wars where Luke Skywalker spars with a hovering globe, the soccer-ball sized robots can be guided around the space stations microgravity interior, propelled by tiny blasts of CO2 at about an inch per second.

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