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Japanese Defense Ministry shows world's first spherical flying machine

Star Wars fans (like me) will get a vague sense of deja vu when they see this flying sphere in action. Weighing in at about 12 ounces (350 g), the 16-inch (42 mm) diameter flying ball can launch and return vertically, maintain a stationary hover and zip along at up to 37 mph (60 km/h). Coupled with the ball camera we reported on earlier this month, it could become a valuable reconnaissance platform. Who knows? In time, more advanced autonomous versions might actually be used to train would-be Jedi knights. Once again, life imitates art.
The flying sphere prepares to launch (Photo: The flying sphere hovers (Photo: The Japanese Defense Ministry's flying sphere (Photo: Close-up of the flying sphere (Photo: View all

Announced last summer by the Technical Research and Development Institute at Japan's Ministry of Defense (JMD) and recently unveiled at Digital Content Expo 2011, the world's first spherical air vehicle will likely be deployed in search and rescue operations deemed unsuitable for traditional aircraft. As for other possible uses, the sky just may be the limit.


1 Comments in Response to

Comment by James Eldridge
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Very clever. I wonder what the US will do when they get their hands on this device? I bet it will go into some sort of military use. 

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