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from the L.A. Times

Japanese engineers develop flying robotic orb [Video]


The research department at Japan’s Ministry of Defense has developed what it calls "the world’s first spherical flying machine" that can hover like a helicopter and fly in all directions.

Take a look at the video below posted on YouTube by DigInfo TV, a Tokyo-based online video news website. Watch as the orb zooms around a room to the amazement of the crowd.

The operator, who remotely controls the aircraft, gives it a few smacks and it still stays afloat -- thanks to onboard gyroscopes.

According to the video report, the machine weighs less than a pound, or about 12 ounces, and is made completely of off-the-shelf parts.

The cost? $1,400.

At the end of the video, the narrator says the gadget was made for rescue and reconnaissance.

“As it can take off and land anywhere, it’s hoped that this machine will be able to reach places that were hard to access by air before.”

Evidently, it wasn’t developed to train Jedis on their lightsaber skills.



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Photo: Screen shot of DigInfo TV's video posted on YouTube. Credit: DigInfo TV  

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