This adorable drone looks like it was ripped right from the movie WALL-E. Int-Ball, created by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will be used to help monitor the International Space Station. Via Engadget:
Astronauts on board the International Space Station have a new robotic companion to play around with. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released the first images shot by the “Int-Ball,” a spherical camera that floats around alongside the rest of the crew. With its monochrome paint job and blue, circular eyes, it looks a little like Wall-E’s Eva — or at least her head, in some kind of prototype form. Notably, the Int-Ball can move around autonomously or be controlled by operators back on Earth. The images are transferred in near real-time allowing JAXA staff to quickly evaluate problems and offer possible solutions to ISS residents.
At the core of the Int-Ball, which measures 15cm in diameter, is a three-axis control unit. The cube-shaped brain converses with 12 fans positioned near the surface of the robot, which adjust its position in zero gravity. A navigation camera looks out for pink “3D Target Makers,” which serve as reference points on board the ship. The recording camera, meanwhile, is located between the two eyes so that astronauts can easily identify what it’s looking at. JAXA says it’s focused now on improving the Int-Ball’s capabilities so that it can be more helpful and autonomous on the station.
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