If you thought the days when Japan's army was something to be feared were long gone, well, think again. The technology research section of the innocuously named Japanese Self Defense Forces have, over the past year and a half, been developing a seriously awesome remote-controlled floating sphere.
The JSDF Robotic Floating Orb, for want of a better moniker, is ideal for urban reconnaissance when equipped with tiny still or video cameras. Potentially fitted with offensive weaponry, the rugged sphere could function as a sort of urban Predator drone that seeks out, chases down and exterminates its target. If the JSDF boys could add a voice chip that allows the orb to actually shout “EX-TERMINATE!!” with an English accent, so much the better!
The ominous orb buzzes evilly, sort of like a giant hornet (Japan actually has those, btw) in a bad mood. When directed by a human operating what looks like a standard remote from a radio-controlled model airplane, the sphere can motor along at around 40 mph (60 kph) – quite suitable for inner-city ops.
Check out this video from a Japanese news & views TV show, which features a close encounter of the flustered kind between a rather overwhelmed female reporter and the Dark Orb of Doom, set to the soundtrack from Top Gun:
Small, remote-controlled helicopters are nothing new for either armies or hobbyists but the Japanese army's mini Death Star appears to be a tougher and more powerful version. As well, enclosing the body of the robocopter in a lightweight spherical casing enables operators to perform “bounce & roll” landings that could deliver small explosive charges more precisely. Take-offs are a cinch from any orientation... or orient nation.
Being military tech, the Floating Orb is obviously not for sale but take heart, robo-maniacs, according to the TV news report almost all the component parts can be found in Tokyo's geek mecca of Akihabara. Someone tell Sarah Connor to start packing her bags... hasta la vista, baby! (via Japan Probe)