I found this little “drone” while doing my regular quadcopter related reading; while not a drone in the traditional sense, the BB-8 style Int-Ball “drone” was intriguing enough to make it into the blog. Largely due to the “cute” factor. If you don’t believe me, follow the link below.
Space watchers have seen footballs, mini-soccer balls and water balls float through the International Space Station — but never a drone ball. Now, new footage of a spherical Japanese robot shows it hovering and skittering around the Destiny laboratory.
The hope is that the robot will not only save the crewmembers time today, but could also improve robotic-human cooperation in future space expeditions, according to a statement from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
“Int-Ball,” as the drone is called, would add to a growing legacy of robot “helpers” in space, including NASA’s Robonaut 2 (which can throw switches and may eventually do simple spacewalk tasks) and the adorable, talking Japanese Kirobo, which made small talk with astronaut Koichi Wakata in 2013.