Applied Sciences Mobile Research Space

Project Tango to power NASA robots in space.

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The most talked about project in Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division  is Project TANGO. Project tango aims to create a 3D environment via the help of its 3D motion sensing techniques and thereby creating a map of the area by the help the phones camera. 


Tango is also currently under extensive research. The method of implication is pretty simple- with smartphones.

How is NASA planning to use this? NASA plans to achieve autonomous navigation on the ISS (International Space Station). NASA has teamed up with Google’s ATAP to work towards achieving this dream. Basically Tango is designed on a 5-inch smartphone and can achieve mapping with the help of its motion and its integrated depth sensing. Tango was basically intended for the development of augmented reality and also the development of apps that would aid this purpose.

SPHERES is a robot by NASA that they are planning to integrate with Tango, so that while navigating the ISS, it can make a digital map of the entire station. SPHERES is a robotic platform that helps in the development of zero-gravity maintenance robots that could aid the astronauts in the future.

Few days back NASA have tested out this project in their zero gravity flight from Texas and the results have come out as it seems “favorable to all conditions”. This test has also has also fixed a chance for a prototype model for it to be tested on the ISS. If everything goes as intended, then we can expect a completely automatic robotic system that can completely repair and maintain the ISS on its own without even a pinch of human interaction.


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