Japan’s space program (JAXA) is one of the fastest growing space programs. One of their latest projects, known as the JEM Internal Ball Camera (or Int-Ball), is taking robo-lovers by storm. Meet Kibo.
The little floating ball was built to help document the space crew’s procedures and operations. Meant to replace the video responsibilities of the crew; it’s already reduced their workload by ~10%, without lifting a finger.
The video above contains the first images from the ball itself. Kibo is controlled from the ground by JAXA team members and operates freely of actual crew involvement, flying around thanks to the lack of gravity and 12 tiny electric fans mounted on its surface. Best part? The flying ball was constructed using 3-D printing, and its little blue eye balls are actually the cameras (so the astronauts have an idea of where it is looking).
In the future, JAXA hopes that Kibo (or future versions of it) will be able to do even more; like help solve problems or check the status of supplies. They’re basically building a flying WALL-E or EVE… No big deal.