Japanese Int-Ball robot floats in ISS, real-life Zeroid, total cuteness

intball space droidAnyone here remember Terrahawks? Well, as soon as I saw the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Internal Ball droid, I thought of the Zeroids.

The Internal Ball, or Int-Ball, is a zero-gravity fully-autonomous camera drone.

The Agency has just released the first pictures and video of this cute space bot.

Functionally, the JEM Int-Ball will optimise communication between astronauts in space and scientists on Earth.

Int-Ball – the cutest camera drone

Aesthetically, it kinda looks like a Zeroid from Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks if Pixar got hold of one. Just look at its monochrome paint job and blue, circular eyes. Adorable much?

Int-Ball could well be the cutest little orb since BB-8.

zeroid and int-ballThe 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) sphere which spans just 6-inches (15 centimeters) is currently on duty to take photos and videos of astronauts at work.

Cute, yet practical

These will display in real-time to researchers on Earth at the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center. Scientists on earth can control Int-Ball and its camera, so they can capture what they need.

Scientists on the ground can control Int-Ball and its camera, so they can capture what they need.

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JAXA says its astronauts currently spend 10% of their working hours photographing their findings. Furthermore, there’s a huge lag between the astronauts capturing the images and sending them to the crew on Earth.

The cute ball droid was delivered to the ISS on June 4th, using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It now lives inside the station’s “Kibo” science module.

One purpose of Int-Ball is to free the explorers from the chore of recording. It should also cut the delay in sending the images back.

Not only does this maximize the astronauts’ work hours, but it also allows the Earth-based crew to monitor and aid the space crew from similar vantage points in real-time.

Int-Ball is a product of 3D printing and modern drone technology.

It functions on a 3-axis control unit, which has several internal reference points plus 12 propeller fans.

These allow the drone to go…

… anywhere at any time via autonomous flight and record images from any angle.”

For now, Int-Ball functions as a revolutionary link between crew on-ground and in space.

JAXA promises plans to…

…enhance its functions, and promote the automation and autonomy of extra- and intra-vehicular experiments”.

Cute and practical. Just like your GagdetyNews crew 😉