Watch a spherical robot drone fly around the room!

We've talked before about this floating robot from the Japanese Ministry of Defense, but now there's new video of this floating, gyroscopic drone. And, against all odds, this video is even more awesome than the last one.

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The video up top shows a recent demonstration by Japan's Ministry of Defense. To the delight (and probably vague horror) of the audience, the ball floats all around the room, zipping and darting in ways you never imagined weird spherical robots ever could. Here's a description of the drone from PC World:

A propeller blade powers the drone but it is also equipped with wings that allow it to fly at speeds of 40 miles per hour. The kicker is the drone only costs $1,400 to build using "off-the-shelf parts."...Thanks to its spherical shape and three on-board gyroscopes, this drone won't flip over and fall to the ground when it hits a wall. Japan's drone can actually fly along a wall, or even land on the ground and roll to its destination.

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Via PC World. Original post here.

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

I don't think they'll be able have a fully enclosed or partially enclosed shell around the works. There needs to be a lot of space to vent the thrust from the control surfaces. So I think it will remain as a spherical cage.

But never mind, the ideas here are very clever. It can roll along the ground with vented thrust and quickly take off and land from any orientation. The price is only about 14 to 15 hundred dollars and this is very likely to go down with mass production. They can probably make it somewhat smaller too. Combine this with the AI that we've seen in all those quadrotor vids and this starts to look pretty scary!

Obviously this could have a lot of uses in police work and military applications. Helicopters could dump hundreds of these things over a large area to monitor political demonstrations or movements of enemy troops in a city. Rioters might take potshots at these drones but they won't be able to get them all and, at that price, they can be easily replaced.

Happy fishbowls everyone.