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Wow…check this out! This “Spherical Flying Machine” isn’t it amazing? ~ Dean kosage
The sci-fi classic Star Wars: A New Hope features a famous scene in which Luke Skywalker practices Jedi Lightsaber skills on a small, flying sphere that can hover and move quickly in any direction. Now, Japan’s Ministry of Defense has developed what may be a precursor to the Jedi training ball, though they call it a “Spherical Flying Machine.”
Driven mostly by remote control, the 42-inch in diameter, 350 gram flying ball uses a combination of propellers and wings to hover, fly in all directions at up to 60 kph and even move along the ground and walls. Virtually nothing seems to stop the ball from “flying.”
According to Japanese ministry officials who demonstrated the flying ball this week at a DigiInfo Expo Conference in Japan, the sphere uses the propeller to lift off and land and the wings for lift as it flies forward. The secret sauce may by the sphere’s three gyroscopic sensors, which automatically right the ball when it’s on the ground or in the air. In the video, the ball lands and starts rolling around (thanks to the propeller). When it’s time to lift off, the gyroscopes help the ball position itself so the propeller is up top. There’s also a camera inside the sphere.
The Ministry of Defense built the robot to help them solve a problem. Apparently they’ve built aircrafts that can stand up vertically after flying horizontally, but take-offs and landings were difficult. Researchers then came up with the idea of a sphere as a potential solution. They then built this prototype with off-the-shelf parts for roughly $1,400. It’s unclear if the ministry plans on commercializing the flying sphere, but they do see some potential in the design. During the video, the demonstrator notes the flying sphere will be able to reach places that were previously hard to access by air.