Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense Spends $1000 on Flying Robot Soccer Ball

Japan has the world’s first truly spherical flying robot (this may or may not be true). It can buzz around at up to 60 kilometers per hour [about 40 mph] or hover stably in narrow spaces like hallways. But its neatest trick is to land by just smacking into the ground and rolling to a stop to absorb the impact. It’s also ideal for operating indoors, since keeping all of the flying and steering components inside the robot lets it happily bounce off walls, doors, windows, light fixtures, and startled people.

The robot relies on one propeller for thrust and eight separate wings for control, and while it doesn’t currently carry a payload, it’s designed to mount a camera or other sensors. Next up is to instill this thing with some autonomy, and at only $1000 a pop

Another flying quadrotor robot inside a ball

The Quanser Qball-X4 is an innovative rotary wing vehicle platform suitable for a wide variety of UAV and UGV research applications. The Qball-X4 is a quadrotor helicopter design with four motors and speed controllers fitted with 10-inch propellers. The entire mechanism is enclosed within a protective carbon fiber cage

In science fiction (Stargate Universe) there is a Kino. It is a sleek, softball-sized, self-levitating orb designed and built in mass quantities by the Ancients for use on the starship Destiny.

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