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Flying Orb Built by Japan's Ministry of Defense [Video]


About the size of a beach ball, this flying sphere takes off vertically and hovers in place, but can zip along horizontally at speeds of up to 60 km/h (about 37 mph). It has gyroscopic control that keeps it stable even when the presenter smacks it on the side:

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the spherical design is that the orb can land then roll along the floor. The model could be used for search and rescue operations, according to the video. (The ministry of defense presumably has some interest in hovering reconnaissance drones, as well.)

The research arm of Japan's ministry of defense built the prototype using off-the-shelf parts for about $1,400, according to the video.

No word if version 2.0 will be equipped with the laser beams necessary for lightsaber training.


The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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