Google’s ATAP team and NASA are using the Project Tango smartphone with 3D motion tracking to help navigate robots in the International Space Station. The smartphone’s Myriad 1 vision processor chip is capable of making a quarter millions 3D measurements per second. It uses those measurements and creates a map of its surroundings.
By attaching a Project Tango smartphone with those mapping capabilities to a SPHERES robot, the autonomous balls can navigate though the space station and perform low-level duties that would usually fall to the astronauts. While floating in the zero-gravity environment, the smartphone will construct a 3D map of the station which will guide the SPHERES to where they need to go without bumping into all the delicate equipment.
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Watch the video to see Google and NASA testing a prototype of the system on the G-FORCE ONE 727. The SPHERES with Project Tango smartphones attached will be launched into orbit this summer.