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Japanese Defense Ministry Showcases Spherical, Flying Spy Drone

| 27 Oct 2011 00:15

Japanese engineers have perfected their prototype spy-ball, and it (probably) wants to know where that rebel base is, Princess.

Having first unveiled its flying spy-ball back in June, the Japanese Ministry of Defense has decided that it's about time we all got a better look at this impressive machine. The attached video contains footage of the robot hovering, rolling, flying and posing for photos at a show in Tokyo.

As was revealed in June, the ball can hover for up to 8 minutes, achieve speeds of up to 60mph, and also be driven around on the ground. Since then, the project's engineers have given it enough automatic controls for it to be able to push past obstructions on its own. If a person bats at it in a feeble attempt to preserve their personal privacy, for instance, the ball will scoot out of the way before resuming its initial course. The ball's designers are working on further automated controls, with an aim to using the machine for reconnaissance missions in dangerous disaster zones or similar.

While part of me had always hoped that the lightsabers, hovercars or easy-to-maintain hairbuns would be the first Star Wars features to appear in the real world, I'm more than happy to settle for this development (as long as it keeps itself within the realm of disaster relief, that is). The amazing maneuverability and stability of this machine, coupled with its automated wall-dodging ability and $1400 price tag, make it the perfect choice for aid agencies who need to see into hard-to-reach places. It'd also be perfect for, say, chasing a rebel across a tundra or similar. Just sayin'.

Source: TechCrunch

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