Feeds

Space Station lightsabre-sparring hoverdroids to be upgraded

ISS mini-globes get tractor beams, crowdsauce greasing

Top three mobile application threats

Coming next - 'propellantless' tractor-beam formation flight

In any case, DARPA says that since arriving at the ISS in 2006 the SPHERES machines have been "primarily used as a formation flying algorithm testbed for graduate student research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)".

That's all very well, but the Pentagon propellerheads want to get on and make some use of the little machines' "expansion ports that allow new hardware to be configured on demand".

Schematic of the SPHERES sat-bots deployed aboard the ISS. Credit: NASA/MIT SSL

Needs tractor-beams, power-rays, that sort of thing.

Specifically, DARPA is ready to hand out cash for the following specific upgrades:

Firstly, a SPHERE capable of "vision based navigation", able to orient itself solely by observing another object - probably another SPHERE - and comparing the image with a 3D model of it. DARPA says:

The target object should be assumed to be moving and possibly tumbling, and its state will not be a priori known to the observer SPHERES (except through their own sensors). Once a 3D model of the object is constructed, the two observer SPHERES will perform relative navigation (as demonstrated through some test maneuver) solely by sensory reference to the target object and its 3D model.

Secondly, developers are invited to design a different upgrade enabling two SPHERES to largely cease use of their cold-gas jets and instead manoeuvre about each other using force fields generated by "steerable electromagnetic dipoles", "at a distance on the order of decimeters to meters".

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.