Photo of the Week - Volleyball-Sized Robots Help ISS Workers

These robots are linked to Android OS phones, allowing Mission Control to command them from the ground.

by / July 26, 2011

These three volleyball-sized robots help workers on the International Space Station, and they’ve received an upgrade that links them to Android OS phones — allowing Mission Control to command the robots from the ground.

Each smartphone-enhanced SPHERES (which stands for Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) robot will connect with a Nexus S smartphone that’s loaded with Google's Android open-source platform — which may allow members of the public to make software for space experiments. The photograph above, courtesy of NASA, was taken during Expedition 14 in the Destiny laboratory module. The image below, courtesy of NASA/Ames/DW Wheeler shows a prototype smartphone-enhanced SPHERES.