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Android in space: NASA robots equipped with a Nexus S.



Android in space: NASA robots equipped with a Nexus S.


Data on the diffusion of devices Android concerning the planet Earth always show positive sign, but we certainly did not expect that the green robot trespassed even reaching Space: NASA uses the Android platform on its own satellite-robots, the SPHERES.

The SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), about the size of a bowling ball, are used inside the International Space Station (ISS) by astronauts for a wide range of features, for example for measure the level of radiation and sounds.

Adding a Nexus S, through the expansion port these units are equipped with, will allow SPHERES to exploit the sensors and camera of the device, as well as benefit from additional computing power for data processing.

The Nexus S have obviously been suitably modified: for example the TXRX chip to avoid any interference (a permanent airplane mode, basically), and the lithium battery was replaced with a special battery pack capable of supporting alkaline batteries.

Why did the choice fall on an Android device? Here’s what he thinks Mark Micire, project-lead of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA:

We chose Android devices for the ability to remove the lithium battery and use alkaline batteries, which would have been difficult with Apple products, and also to be able to have them running under Windows XP without installing any drivers.

Street