April 18, 2014

Google unveiled Project Tango in February, a new system from smartphones to virtualize the world we live in to bring new applications and uses never before seen.

It then came to light that in a partnership between NASA and the ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group at Google, a project Tango development phone will be used with the SPHERES satellites inside the International Space Station (ISS). The SPHERES program aims to develop zero-gravity autonomous platforms that could act as robotic assistants for astronauts or perform maintenance activities independently on station. The 3D-tracking and mapping capabilities of Project Tango would allow SPHERES to reconstruct a 3D-map of the space station and, for the first time in history, enable autonomous navigation of a floating robotic platform 230 miles above the surface of the earth.

This will allow the satellite to explore the rest of the station and use new software algorithms to map the world around the SPHERES. This technology could be the next stepping stone to making a more independent robotic system to assist astronauts in daily activities. The Project Tango phone has been specially modified for the SPHERES by splitting the device in half allowing both the interface and camera systems to be on one side for the user to interface with.

Project Tango and SPHERES will launch this summer.

Watch the video to see Google and NASA testing a prototype of the system on the G-FORCE ONE 727.


Posted in 3D Software

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