Flying sphere for disaster recon

Flying sphere the size of a basketball that can travel at 37mph | Mail Online.

Its Japanese developers call it the ‘Futuristic Circular Flying Object’ and it’s designed to go where humans can’t.

The radio-controlled sphere, roughly the size of a basketball, was built for search and rescue operations, specifically to fly in and out of buildings weakened by earthquakes or other natural disasters.

The device uses its onboard camera to transmit live images of whatever it sees.

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Radio-controlled: The 'Futuristic Circular Flying Object' uses an onboard camera to transmit live images of whatever it sees

Radio-controlled: The ‘Futuristic Circular Flying Object’ uses an onboard camera to transmit live images of whatever it sees

The sphere was built for search and rescue operations, specifically to fly in and out of buildings weakened by earthquakes or other natural disasters

The sphere was built for search and rescue operations, specifically to fly in and out of buildings weakened by earthquakes or other natural disasters

The airborne device zips through the air, glides smoothly around corners, and negotiates staircases with ease, all the while emitting a soft hum

Flying object: The device zips through the air, glides smoothly around corners, and negotiates staircases with ease, all the while emitting a soft hum

The black, open-work ball looks like a futuristic work of art, but it can hover for up to eight minutes and fly at 37mph — although it does slow down for open windows.

 

Fumiyuki Sato, at the Japanese Defense Ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute, invented and built the vehicle for roughly 110,000 yen (£865 / $1,390) with parts purchased off the shelf at consumer electronics stores.

He said: ‘Because of its spherical shape, it can land in various positions and tumble to move around the ground.’

It zips through the air, glides smoothly around corners, and negotiates staircases with ease, all the while emitting a soft hum.

Inventor: Fumiyuki Sato, at the Japanese Defense Ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute, invented and built the vehicle for roughly £865

Inventor: Fumiyuki Sato, at the Japanese Defense Ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute, invented and built the vehicle for roughly £865

Slick: The black, open-work ball looks like a futuristic work of art, but it can hover for up to eight minutes and fly at up to 37mph

Slick: The black, open-work ball looks like a futuristic work of art, but it can hover for up to eight minutes and fly at up to 37mph

 

Resourceful: Mr Sato built the sphere with parts purchased off the shelf at consumer electronics stores

Resourceful: Mr Sato built the sphere with parts purchased off the shelf at consumer electronics stores

Measuring 42cm, it boasts eight manoeuvrable rudders, 16 spoilers and three gyro sensors to keep it upright. It is made of lightweight carbon fiber and styrene components for a total weight of 340grams.

If its lithium batteries lose power, it’s been designed simply to roll to a stop to minimise the chance of damage.

‘When fully developed, it can be used at disaster sites, or anti-terrorism operations or urban warfare,’ Mr Sato said.

Meanwhile, he added, there’s the pure fun of testing it.

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