Feeds

Space Station lightsabre-sparring hoverdroids to be upgraded

ISS mini-globes get tractor beams, crowdsauce greasing

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

In further Star Wars-themed international space station (ISS) news, it has emerged that not only is the orbiting space base soon to be equipped with a robot named "R2", but that its complement of small, spherical hoverdroids - not unlike those famously used by Luke Skywalker aboard the Millennium Falcon for light-sabre sparring - are to be upgraded and covered with crowdsauce.

The three hovering robots are known as SPHERES units (Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage, and Reorient Experimental Satellite) - the last part of that being quite correct. Although the small globoids are confined to operations inside the space station, they are of course in their own orbits about the Earth while flying freely, and as such are classed as satellites.

The little machines propel themselves using jets of compressed CO2, and navigate using an ultrasonic system. They were designed by MIT engineering students as part of the so-called InSPIRE programme (International Space Station SPHERES Integrated Research Experiments), intended to stir up enthusiasm for technology among America's youth by offering them the chance to write code and design hardware add-ons for the SPHERES droids up in orbit.

By now, given the general vibe of the project, it will come as no surprise to regular Reg readers that the InSPIRE/SPHERES space station globotumblebot plan comes from DARPA. DARPA is the famously erratic Pentagon tech-dominance bureau, occasionally apt to let considerations of military usefulness slip its corporate mind in the excitement of finding, let us say, a young woman strapped down under a mysterious krenon-ray machine capable of turning her into a hugely powerful mutant gorilla - or, as we have here, scope to play with small hovering robots deployed inside an actual functioning space vessel.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?