Just two months after Google announced Project Tango — an experimental Android-powered smartphone with 3D sensors — its Advanced Technology and Projects team is working to get a prototype inside the International Space Station to assist NASA astronauts with chores and tasks. The 5-inch smartphone, which comes with 3D-tracking and mapping capabilities via its camera, will be attached to a robot with the ability to navigate the station.
NASA has been working on a robotic platform that can fly around in zero gravity on the International Space Station to help out the astronauts or even perform basic maintenance. The platform is being called SPHERES, and a big part of how it will work in space relies on Google’s Project Tango smartphone. Project Tango is Google’s solution for enhancing the state of computer vision by giving a smartphone the hardware necessary to perceive the world the way humans do. The phone is capable of measuring depth and observing movement in order to create a 3D understanding of the space it occupies.