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24 May 2012

Smartphones In Space

Yes, it's true. Android-powered smartphones have orbited the Earth.

Read all about CubeSats, PhoneSats, SPHERES, Smart SPHERES and space-oriented app competitions in this week's Micro Mart magazine, issue 1210. It's the one with a Smartphones ... In Space banner at the top of the front page.

Here are a few extracts from the article:

On the face of it smartphone technology seems a perfect fit for CubeSat projects. A smartphones is already a highly sophisticated miniaturised device, with a relatively fast processing speed (well over 10 times the power of typical space-borne computers) and ample memory. The latest smartphones bristle with wireless communication systems, and have built-in cameras, accelerometers, gyro-meters, GPS, proximity and light sensors. The whole package is easily customised via an open source operating system and readily available application software tools.

Developed by the MIT Space Systems Laboratory, these 200mm (8-inch) diameter SPHERES are designed to operate in a variety of environments. MIT professor David Miller was inspired by a scene in the original Star Wars film, where Luke Skywalker spars with a small hovering droid to practice his force-enhanced Jedi light sabre skills.

The first generation of smart SPHERES are paired with the Android-powered Nexus S smartphone from Samsung. The open source Android operating system and freely available application development tools only adds to the flexibility. As Intelligent Robotics Group software engineer Mark Micire said, "The availability of Android source code allows us to customise the smartphone to be used as a compact, low-cost, low-power computer, rather than just a phone."

Download the free Micro Mart iPad/iPhone app and purchase the magazine for only £1.49.

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