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Japanese Military Invents Tumbling, Flying Sphere

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the didn't-darth-vader-have-one-of-these dept.

Hardware Hacking 156

thebchuckster writes "A Japanese developer has released a cool, new sphere that is billed as being able to go where humans can't. The sphere is 17-inches, features eight movable rudders, and can hover in the air for at least eight minutes. While reaching speeds of up to 37 miles per hour, the sphere deftly moves through the air without much effort. It doesn't take much to get it up in the air and moving, and it will be adept at going into tight areas."

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And for "Medical" Uses... (4, Funny)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786774)

And if you stick a really nasty looking syringe on it, it makes a great Deathstar interrogation system.

Re:And for "Medical" Uses... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786794)

My thoughts exactly! http://video.adultswim.com/robot-chicken/dr-ball-md.html

Re:And for "Medical" Uses... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786916)

When I saw the title I got this disturbing image of it being used in a colonoscopy. Then again if it could be reduced in size it could end up a popular recreational item in San Francisco.

Re:And for "Medical" Uses... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787038)

It's funny, because there are a lot of gay people in San Francisco, and they like to stick things up their but!

Re:And for "Medical" Uses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788260)

You beat me to it. That was my first thought upon seeing it - they even painted it black.

wow, nice. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786778)

When will the US make one and attach a missile to it?

Re:wow, nice. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786828)

as soon as we can get close to Japan without being blasted by their huge radiation leak

Japan, you do know your country is still mostly destroyed right? you might want to quit playing with your balls a moment and focus

Re:wow, nice. (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787082)

more like a bottle rocket. the whole rig only weighs 12 ounces.

Very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786802)

Reminds of Half Life 2's scanners (http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/City_Scanner). I suspect prices of crowbars in Japan will go up pretty soon.

Metroid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786808)

At last, Metroid for real!

Soon, I hope they'll do a real-world implementation of the BFG-9000...

One man, consumer parts (4, Interesting)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786834)

TFA sounds like this is one guy working with consumer parts. I wonder what an American military subcontractor would want to develop this.

Re:One man, consumer parts (2)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786862)

TFA sounds like this is one guy working with consumer parts. I wonder what an American military subcontractor would want to develop this.

And the article cites a price for the prototype of $1,390.

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786906)

He waaaayyy over spent. I could build that easily for less than $500-$600.

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786942)

I would like to place an order with you for 2.316667 units please.

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787608)

If you're willing to pay reasonable labor rates I'm sure we can work something out.

As for the others trolling, you can build basically this, which requires far more motors and speed controllers for a fraction of the cost, and that even includes GPS, an autopilot, and mission management. Even with all that, its still way fucking cheaper than his prototype.

Re:One man, consumer parts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787154)

I could build one for nothing so fuck you!

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

Pfil2 (88340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787146)

Unless the guy that invented it works for free the true cost is surely much higher than $1390. This IEEE article [ieee.org] from a month ago says it took him a year and a half to develop so I'd include the guy's salary, lab equipment, CAD tool licenses, etc. unless he worked on it in his free time with all free open source software...

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787256)

Amortize that year and a half of development over 1,000 balls, figure it takes a day or two to put one together once you know how, and it's still under $2,000 per copy to produce 1,000. How much does the American Department of "Homeland Security" pay for one day's theatre at LAX?

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

Pfil2 (88340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787962)

Agreed. The question was how much an American military subcontractor would want to develop this and the GP answered himself saying it cost $1390. I was merely trying to point out that development cost and the cost of the materials and labor to build one are two different things.

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786884)

something made of consumer grade electronics couldn't function in a radiation field, nor in extremes of temperature, humidity, etc.

Re:One man, consumer parts (4, Insightful)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786964)

When one failed, you could roll out the next. Or you could triple the price to better the specs.

$1,390 is less than the cost of taking a congresscrook to "dinner" to show them your proposal for a $100 million version of this.

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787218)

"Roll out the rest", to all fail in a pile at the boundary of a high-rad field? Triple the price? haha, having done prototypes for manufacturing, I can assure you a military-grade hovering electronic sensor probe would indeed take millions of dollars to prototype. You remind me of the people who complain about the poor performance of Mars rover's computers and bandwidth of NASA's communication system for them, compared to their home pc and home internet connection.

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787330)

Or perhaps you've been lulled into blissful slumber by a cost-plus contract, and are interested in straw-man arguments about NASA? There are lots of uses, even military uses, for a product like this where you don't need to worry about a high-rad field. How many lives could be saved if the portion of the military budget that pays for "military-grade" lobbying and products were diverted, say, to American fire and police departments? How many lives could be saved if it were diverted to food distribution and famine relief?

Re:One man, consumer parts (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788734)

American emergency responders use near military grade equipment. The near point means it might fail, high rad but still function after being run over.

They need extremely durable goods as well. While a fire truck won't stop bullets the equipment does deal with high pressure high volume chemicals.

Re:One man, consumer parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787254)

or toymakers? It'll only be a matter of time.

Have it perform a search and destroy mission on iPads and we have ourselves a certifiable iPad killer.

Re:One man, consumer parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787432)

It looks and flies like one of the toys they've been selling for several years, it's just that he glued on a spherical bumper. Sorry, but I'm totally NOT impressed.

Re:One man, consumer parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788140)

We do have one already. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_O%27Hare_International_Airport_UFO_sighting

You Insensitive Clods! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786844)

Do you realize the psychic trauma you have just caused by posting something that unearths memories of dodgeball in a discussion group full of nerds?

I saw this thing and immediately thought... (3, Interesting)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786848)

... of the copseyes from Niven's "Cloak of Anarchy". Add some of these [taser.com] to incapacitate and you've got a menacing little bot.

Re:I saw this thing and immediately thought... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36789062)

And a pair of dark shades, a shotgun and some frustration from lack of bubble gum will make it a good practice target.

Looks like (1)

CruelKnave (1324841) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786852)

a helicopter in a cage.

Re:Looks like (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787072)

except this one can roll around when it lands.. aerial and ground recon on one package.

and @1300 bucks - expendable.

Quiditch anyone? (5, Funny)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786874)

Now we just need flying broomsticks.

Quidditch (1, Funny)

denshao2 (1515775) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786880)

It just has to be miniaturized a bit.

The funeral is about to begin SIR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786892)

Phantasm IRL finally.

Re:The funeral is about to begin SIR (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787058)

Its funny, Phantasm [wikipedia.org] was the first thing that I thought of

Foo Fighters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786894)

Aren't these the legendary Foo Fighters?

Why didn't an AFRICAN invent this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786918)

Can anybody tell me?
I was so surprised to find out that Africans haven't actually done anything at all for humanity since they came into existence.

Anybody care to prove me wrong, without shouting "Heretic"? (Sorry - "racist"...)

Re:Why didn't an AFRICAN invent this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787074)

do you know any africans with $1,390 (legally)? When they rob a bank they don't spend the money on building flying robots!

Re:Why didn't an AFRICAN invent this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788266)

The average IQ of an African is 70. Hence all they can do is destroy everything they touch.

Exhibit A: Detroit.
Exhibit B: Every other previously all white area, which blacks moved into.

Re:Why didn't an AFRICAN invent this? (1)

xkuehn (2202854) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787178)

Can anybody tell me? I was so surprised to find out that Africans haven't actually done anything at all for humanity since they came into existence. Anybody care to prove me wrong, without shouting "Heretic"? (Sorry - "racist"...)

Fine. Invented the calendar and stone buildings: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sumer_anunnaki/esp_sumer_annunaki35.htm [bibliotecapleyades.net]

I'd find some more, but I think it'll do you good to do so yourself.

Re:Why didn't an AFRICAN invent this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787612)

"I'd find some more, but I think it'll do you good to do so yourself."

Hilarious.

So what about: electricity (or rather, the use of electricity), the internal combustion engine, the computer, air travel, space travel, communications satellites, modern medicine, the industrial revolution, etc.etc.

Little minor things like that.
Africans invented 'stone buildings'.

Absolutely amazing! Cutting edge technology right there!

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned peanut butter yet, because that's obviously changed the world.

You idiot.

As I said, Africans haven't done anything for humanity since they came into existence.

I'm still waiting for you to prove me wrong. I'm sure your children are going to just LOVE you when they're living in a third world country.

Oh wait... you actually believe that LAND MASSES are what make people intelligent, right? Because, heaven forbid, it couldn't be GENES, could it!

You douchebag.

Manhacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786954)

The best defense is a good crowbar.

Trojan on linked site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36786978)

I got a trojan warning from my AV on the linked site.

Re:Trojan on linked site (4, Informative)

Soulskill (1459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787014)

Updated with a new link, just in case.

No. 2 will be seeing you (1)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36786986)

Now they just need to ramp up the size to 6', and add an audio projection capability... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Ffr1U7KMY [youtube.com]

Perhaps they should touch base with these guys - http://techtransfer.universityofcalifornia.edu/NCD/19914.html [university...fornia.edu]

As B as B gets (2)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787040)

Wait a minute, I've seen these movies already! [wikipedia.org]

Re:As B as B gets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788162)

Chris Knight already made this and a penis stretcher. (filed under toy)

Invention? (-1, Troll)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787054)

WE use the word 'invent' far too lightly. It even says in the article its made from off the shelf parts. This is a reconfiguration of existing tech.

Re:Invention? (4, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787120)

Oh FFS, so he's supposed to mine for rare earths and smelt his own exotic materials in order to say he INVENTED something?
Look, he DESIGNED and ASSEMBLED something that did not exist before. If you don't consider that inventing, you're just a dumb-ass.

BTW: what have you invented?
I got good money that says fuck all.

Re:Invention? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787260)

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

Re:Invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788116)

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

Dollars to donuts Sagan didn't eat many apple pies, then.

Re:Invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787442)

Agreed. This is just a tricked up hobby helicopter.If you put pink sparkly streamers on the handlebars of a Harley, it doesn't mean you "invented" a motorcycle.

Re:Invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788176)

I think what you "invented" in that example is a new way of meeting people at biker bars.

Re:Invention? (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788242)

Too late, I've already patented it!

Re:Invention? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788394)

Oh FFS, so he's supposed to mine for rare earths and smelt his own exotic materials in order to say he INVENTED something?

I'd settle for designing (the assembling part wouldn't even be necessary) something that nobody else would know how to make. It's fair to say he designed the thing, and I'm not sure why that's not enough. It's an impressive task, not sure why we need to go we need to say "invent." Incredibly talented people design new microprocessors at intel, but we don't say they invented a microprocessor.

BTW: what have you invented?

I don't go around rating people's awesomeness by using me as a reference. I'm not conceited enough to believe that I'm anything above average, and I don't think being average is enough to be awesome. I think I can recognize a great symphony when I hear it, without needing to be capable of composing it. I can also say that a movie sucks, even though if they put me as a writer and director, my movie would be far worse.

In fact, if you do force me to rate people's awesomeness using myself as a reference, it's a definite requirement that they do something I'm incapable of doing. Otherwise, I call it unimpressive.

Re:Invention? (1)

burning-toast (925667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787122)

Just about every single thing you will ever do, touch, see, think of, or make in your life will be a reconfiguration of existing tech. Think about this for a minute.

Invent just means you found a novel way to do something with existing tech.

Just imagine what inventions would be like if you had to make everything in it from scratch, and didn't already start by knowing how to make fire, dig up minerals and metals (let alone smelt them).

Re:Invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787130)

So's a micro processor.

It's what you can do, not what it's made of.

Re:Invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787138)

Indeed! Your reply contains no intellectual content as it merely consists of existing words.

Re:Invention? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787298)

Only some of the parts were off the shelf.

And even if it was 100% off the shelf components, are you actually suggesting that unless you obtain all the raw materials yourself, (smelt the ore into usable metal, form your own plastic, create your own propeller motor from scratch) you haven't invented anything yourself? That's preposterous.

Re:Invention? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787400)

What im suggesting is that anyone practiced in the arts of this could build a working facsimile in a few days. Its not novel or unique in any real or compelling way. Its the inevitable result of shrinking electronics and light/powerful batteries.

Re:Invention? (1)

mdw2 (122737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788536)

That's what everyone says about inventions.

"I could have done that"

But you DIDN'T. Therein lies the difference.

Re:Invention? (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788574)

Yeah, sure, which is why it took this guy a year of working on CAD and prototyping.

This may come as a shock to those poor souls who've never actually created something entirely novel, but doing or deriving something new is actually a remarkably difficult process. It only looks easy because we don't show you the prototype or publish the paper until we're done, and then we handhold you through all the hard parts. No shit it would be fairly easy to build more now, the original inventors have already done all the hard work for you. They've gone down all the wrong alleyways, made the dumb mistakes, ironed out most of the bugs, proven the control software is possible, and more. Here, try it yourself - prove the existence and uniqueness of solutions to the linear IVP, or the Bell Inequality, or the Optical Theorem, or derive the heat capacity of a classical ideal gas, without looking any part of the answer up.

It never ceases to amaze me that, even on supposedly technically-oriented message boards, we still have this group that looks at a new creation which took man-years of work or more to make, and says "Oh, pfft, that was easy, anyone could do that."

Sphere hovering in the air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787118)

I for one , am not a number .I am a FREE MAN

Sounds strangely familiar... (1)

jameson (54982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787246)

Does it have flappy ears and say `haro' a lot?

Copseyes! (0)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787292)

Anarchy parks, where there is almost no law, are patrolled by floating spheres... I guess I'm too old, who still reads Niven these days? OK, how about Bit from the first Tron? Yes! No! YESYESYESYESYES!

Develop further to ... (1)

Kreylix (322480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787302)

Add an extremely advanced AI and you end up with something close to what's in Iain M. Banks' Culture novels.

Helicopter in a Ball? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787320)

This looks like a remote control helicopter in a roll cage. Instead of tilting the rotor for control, it uses a far more complex system of rudders. Is there something else, or is this a slow news day? If there were design docs & instructions, this would make a cute Hack-A-Day article.

Re:Helicopter in a Ball? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788422)

I find your definition of 'complex' rather odd. Maybe you should study what it takes to make a rotor tilt, with all its linkages and swashplates and other critical things that can break down very easily. Putting all the moving parts into a protective roll cage is one of the best ideas to come out of this type of vehicle. If you have any doubts, just bump one of those quadrotors into a wall. And also note the center of gravity is below the prop, which makes it a bit more naturally stable.

Number 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787368)

...will be returned to the Village forthwith!

What is with Reuters video? (1)

tombeard (126886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787372)

I get short clips that jump ahead after a few seconds. I tried to grab one using Download Helper but you have to be fast to grab the right one. Anybody here understand how this works well enough to suggest a solution?

Re:What is with Reuters video? (1)

tombeard (126886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787466)

Never mind. Pause works amazingly well.

hmm (2, Insightful)

markhahn (122033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787468)

so there are lots of quad-copters around that have roughly similar specs. this one is a uni-copter with 8 thrust-vectoring flaps, which is, I guess somewhat novel. not sure why 8 is the right number, and seems like a fairly large number, given that each requires a servo and fairly big piece of material. but since the flaps are independent, they can provide both direction and rotational control (which is why a quad-copter needs 4 fans - and why a helicopter needs a tail fan.) the spherical cage (and uni-fan) makes it seem compact and tidy, but I'm not sure the layout is actually better than a quad-copter.

Re:hmm (2)

NoName Studios (917186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787606)

The sphere design is so that if it bumps into a wall it can keep going. If it falls to the ground it just rolls away.

Better batteries make it work? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787724)

The little quadrotors have been around for about 15 years now. The first time I saw one, it was made mostly of Styrofoam and could barely get off the ground. Now they go zooming around, due to better motors and much better batteries. But they still can't carry much load.

This thing looks like a nice tradeoff. There's more structure to carry around, and you only get 8 minutes of flight time, but it's not as fragile as most quadrotors. Those things are going to be popular with soldiers and cops.

Re:Better batteries make it work? (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788744)

you only get 8 minutes of flight time

use a methanol fuel cell and you should be okay for a couple of hours

Re:hmm (3, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788540)

Well, let's see... A quadrotor requires four motors to fly.. The chances failure of any one of them is far higher, and will ruin your whole day. The props are exposed. That's obviously a problem. On the other hand, with this you can lose a few, or even most of the rudder servos and keep on going. All the works, especially the props are protectively caged from foreign objects. The center of gravity makes it more stable, A sphere is nice, but a cube would work well also. Either way, this design looks to be the simplest, most reliable you will find. Don't knock it.

Re:hmm (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788754)

We'll have to see how the power-to-weight ratio works out for this vs. the quad copter. The ability to strike the wall without having bits of rotor fly everywhere is the obvious advantage. It's brilliant because you smack yourself on the head wondering why this design isn't already more prevalant at this stage in the game.

Training videos on defeating it already out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787476)

Obi-wan: This time, let go your conscious self- and act on instinct.

Luke: But with the blast shield down, I can't even see- how am I supposed to fight?

Obi-wan: Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them. Stretch out with your feelings.

Research, not Rescue! (1)

Scalarr (2373026) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787496)

When will researchers stop picking premature goals for their projects like search and rescue? I know, because I did exactly the same thing as an undergrad. Just admit it's an technological exploration and that you need funding to continue working on it.

I'd want one if I had to invade a building (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787504)

Beats hell out of knocking down the front door and just hoping your reflexes are fast enough.  I'd put this in the "extremely clever" category, since it does seem obvious once you've seen it...but then why isn't everybody doing it?

Anyone think of ITV's "The Prisoner"? (1, Redundant)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787590)

Just from the description, I was thinking of the large, white ball that bounds along the beach, catching anyone who tries to escape.

Re:Anyone think of ITV's "The Prisoner"? (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788880)

First thing that came to mind when I read the description as well.

Nice as an OS project (1)

Anti Cheat (1749344) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787636)

This doesn't look that difficult to copy. The rudder system is pretty rudimentary. The RC and UAV groups open source arduino board, firmware and sensors, from the ongoing quad projects can already handle most of it's functions. Hmmm. I'd sure like one.

pretty cool gadget BUT (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787810)

The inventor is pitching it as a remote vehicle for searching in cases of disaster areas, and for military operations. For disaster areas, no arguments, but for military operations it would be of very limited usage. From the video, it is VERY loud, seems like it sounds like a leaf blower.

Sounds like... (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787830)

it would be a ball to be the operator :P

Kino (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36787918)

It needs a proper name. I nominate Kino.

Stupid headline. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36787958)

"Japan's constitution forbids a traditional military, allowing only a narrowly defined Self Defense Force, or SDF."

--www.cfr.org Japan

Re:Stupid headline. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788318)

But the best defense is offense, right? See now they dont have to worry about that pesky constitution!

Behold the swarm! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788350)

Make a few thousand of these, have them WIFI or maybe bluetooth capable, add solar cells, and network them all together to quickly work together. Imagine random swarms of these things flying all around a desert-like location with different swarm configurations like a line or sphere.

Add a single LED laser and imagine all the fun a remote army station could have harassing some terrorist they find--all those laser guided missiles would love to join in the fun!

Nasty weapon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788358)

Give it a couple more versions. 3 hour flight time. A camera. And stick a silenced .22 - .38 on it.

Cheap and effective.

Or a railgun that shoots small needles.....

I think I saw this in Harry Potter (0)

Pepebuho (167300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788396)

What was the name of that game? :)

Mars? (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788476)

I wonder if this could work on mars? If so, then we could send a number of these on a mission (say via a falcon heavy), and then send these all over the planet. If built well enough, send several to venus, perhaps titan, etc.

Re:Mars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36789246)

The Martian atmosphere is probably too thin for the rotors on this to create sufficient lift.

Also: Mars is extremely cold, and extremely dusty.

Maybe a larger version, sealed against dust and built to operate in Martian cold, with a balloon for added buoyancy, might work. But of course it couldn't be controlled from Earth in real time.

It'd probably be solar-powered, and would need to land regularly to recharge itself.

Doctor Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36788570)

Toclafane

reuters slow to the party? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788602)

it was already covered...a bit over a month ago on engadget and wired

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/10/japanese-ball-drone-knows-how-to-make-an-entrance-video/ [engadget.com]

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-06/10/japan-drone [wired.co.uk]

http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2011/06/09/jsdf-spherical-drone-we-bought-most-of-the-parts-in-akiba/ [sankakucomplex.com]

Although the original video that Wired and Engadget used is gone...there are others on youtube such as:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQa4K-tstTg [youtube.com]

or just use this search:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%E7%90%83%E5%BD%A2%E9%A3%9B%E8%A1%8C%E4%BD%93&aq=f [youtube.com]

either way...reminds me of those hovering/flying razor blades from Half-life 2

What a Waste of Time and Money (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788604)

With the various problems Japan and its government has, the time and money it's spending developing this thing is a waste that it cannot afford. Japan has the US to cover its military risks, so it can spend its time and money on other things Japanese people actually need.

Sure, Japan's security is largely a source of wasteful US military spending, and the US is in even more trouble in these ways than Japan is. But that doesn't justify Japan digging its hole in a race with the US.

Re:What a Waste of Time and Money (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36788626)

Whoops, I RTFA and I was bitching like a fool in that comment. This is exactly the kind of legitimate protective device Japan needs, given its actual threats.

The radio-controlled sphere, roughly the size of a basketball, was built for search and rescue operations: to fly in and out of buildings weakened by earthquakes or other natural disasters, using its onboard camera to transmit live images of whatever it sees.

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