NASA will employ Google smartphones with advanced 3D sensing and vision technology to control Star Wars-inspired small, round hovering robots on the International Space Station.
The phones, part of Google’s Project Tango, will be used for NASA’s Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES). The system may eventually assume chores from astronauts or potentially dangerous tasks outside the International Space Station (ISS).
The 5-inch handsets will accompany a cargo spacecraft scheduled for launch on July 11, according to Reuters.
Project Tango devices, first introduced by Google in February, use sensors to build visual maps of rooms using 3D scanning. Google believes the sensors, used in combination with advanced computer vision techniques, can revolutionize indoor navigation and gaming, among other opportunities.
NASA’s soccer-ball-sized SPHERES robots, guided by the Google handsets, will be used around the space station’s microgravity interior, moving an inch per second via small spurts of carbon dioxide.