July 14, 2011
Japan Inventors Create Hovering Sphere For Search and Rescue
Japanese developers have created a flying sphere to help in search and rescue operations.
The "Futuristic Circular Flying Object" is roughly the size of a basketball and is designed to go where humans are unable to. The radio-controlled sphere has onboard cameras that allow the driver to see live images of whatever it sees.
The ball can hover for up to eight minutes and fly at 37mph.
Fumiyuki Sato, at the Japanese Defense Ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute, built the vehicle for about $1,390 by using parts purchased off the shelf at consumer electronics stores.
"Because of its spherical shape, it can land in various positions and tumble to move around the ground," he said in a statement.
The 17-inch sphere glides through the air around corners and negotiates staircases while emitting a soft hum.
It has eight maneuverable rudders, 16 spoilers and three gyro sensors to help keep it upright.
The 12.3-ounce sphere is made up of a lightweight carbon fiber and styrene components.
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