Two months after Google announced Project Tango, which is an experimental Android-powered smartphone with 3D sensors, its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team is working to get a prototype inside the International Space Station to assist NASA astronauts.
The 5-inch smartphone, which comes with 3D-tracking and mapping capabilities via its camera, will be attached to a robot (on a robotic platform called NASA Spheres) with the ability to navigate the station, Mashable reports.
The Spheres robots will work in zero-gravity and help those on board the International Space Station. The team has been working with NASA Ames Researchers for more than a year now to get its Project Tango smartphone concept into robots that work in space. 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.
Project Tango and NASA recently tested the concept during a zero-gravity flight that left from Texas, but the technology will launch into orbit starting this summer, according to Google.