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NASA to Back Up ISS Robots with Google-Built Smartphones; Chris Provencher Comments

International Space StationNASA plans to install Google-developed mobile devices with three-dimensional sensors into robots that perform routines inside the International Space Station, Reuters reported Monday.

Noel Randewich writes Google’s smartphones will serve as “brains and eyes” for the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites robots.

NASA intends for the SPHERES machines to carry out risky tasks outside the space station, among other duties, according to the report.

The smartphones are scheduled for launch into space on July 11, the report says.

The mobile devices are part of Google’s Project Tango, integrated with motion-tracking camera and infrared depth sensor systems to navigate the internal structure of the ISS and develop a 3D map, Reuters reports.

“This type of capability is exactly what we need for a robot that’s going to do tasks anywhere inside the space station,” Chris Provencher, Smart SPHERES project manager, told Reuters.

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