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NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) engineers will use the technology of computer vision, developed by Google for its pilot smartphone Project Tango. Dubbed SPHERES, these zero-gravity autonomous machines are being developed to serve as robotic assistants to help astronauts and independently perform tasks on the International Space Station (ISS).
Department of Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), part of the Internet search engine, has been working with a team at the NASA for almost a year to integrate a Tango prototype into robots that work inside the ISS.
In particular, the tasks of robots will include drawing up 3D maps of the station. To ensure SPHERES technology with Google’s 3D vision, it will be added a smartphone, additional cameras and other equipment. It is scheduled to launch Project Tango and SPHERES into orbit in the summer of 2014.
Google unveiled Project Tango in February, showcasing a prototype phone loaded with sensors and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device while mapping its environment. Project Tango can be used in various areas. For instance, before going to the store the user can build a 3D map of his house which will allow him to easily choose furniture. The device can also help visually impaired people to navigate in unfamiliar areas without someone’s assistance.
For the formation of three-dimensional map of premises, the device is equipped with a 4-megapixel camera that tracks the movement of the person, two special processor Movidius Myriad 1, gyroscope, compass, Unity game engine, Vesti reports.