From a technological point of view the flying sphere from Japan’s Ministry of Defense is a revolutionary advancement. Not only is it the first flying sphere that can hover, take-off, and land like a helicopter but it can also fly horizontally at high speeds (up to 37 mph) thanks to its wings – a feat not possible with a standard helicopter. Its three gyroscopes keep it stable despite interference from other objects or during autonomous flight and because it is spherical it can land in a variety of environments and roll along the ground. Obviously it includes a camera for remote observation and given the fact that it is a military-made machine, other sensors will likely be included at a later date. The most impressive aspect of the flying sphere is that it was built using off-the-shelf parts for approximately $1,400.
Given a few revisions to flight stability (the sphere’s controls are still too sensitive to be flown via on-board camera), battery life, and an improved sensor array – the flying sphere could prove to be an impressive addition to the world’s growing drone army and is certainly an impressive accomplishment of modern robotics. If nothing else, it gets us a step closer to developing the tiny floating lightsaber training sphere used in Star Wars.
- Flying ball goes anywhere (futureoftech.msnbc.msn.com)
- The Navy’s UFO drone (marshallstanton.com)
- The age of robotic warfare (marshallstanton.com)
- WASP drone: the next chapter in cyber-terrorism (marshallstanton.com)
- Boeing launches their autonomous unmanned aircraft (marshallstanton.com)