Smartphones and unconventional toy parts are the main components of these low cost devices.
We recently wrote about engineer Song Hojun’s Open Source Satellite project that looks to provide consumers with cost effective personal satellite options. It seems as though affordable personal satellites are being researched and enlivened by a host of other inventors. Of most recent to note is NASA’s project to utilize smartphones and unconventional toy parts as the main components of these low cost satellites.
The smartphone in your pocket has about 120 times more computing power than the average satellite, which has the equivalent of a 1984-era computer inside. “You can go to Walmart and buy toys that work better than satellites did 20 years ago,” said NASA physicist Chris Boshuizen. The biggest challenge of sending cellphones and toys into space is whether the parts can get up there without shaking apart and work in a vacuum at extreme high and low temperatures.
If these inventors are successful, personal networks could free consumers from the dependency on large network providers from broadband to mobile telecom. In turn, this offers the potential to pose a host of political, economic and social upheavals in terms of how data is policed; that is, people’s individual rights verses larger corporations and governments.