NASA is going to use Google smartphones with 3D technology at the International Space Station (ISS), helping robots conduct operations on the orbiting research lab. There is specific focus in having 3D technology help with the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES), aiming to help reduce workload for astronauts.
The Google devices will launch to the ISS later this month, and could provide a much-needed technology boost in space. The Project Tango devices from Google feature support for a motion-tracking camera and infrared depth sensor, with the ability to track sharp angles and develop 3D maps.
"We wanted to add communication, a camera, increase the processing capability, accelerometers and other sensors," said Chris Provencher, Smart SPHERES project manager, in an interview with Reuters. "As we were scratching our heads thinking about what to do, we realized the answer was in our hands. Let's just use smartphones."
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