Fully Charged: Google’s Project Tango phones head to space, Oculus VR plans developers conference, and watch 14 wild minutes of the new Borderlands

Catch up on the most exciting news from all around the world of tech

Project Tango handsets going to International Space Station

Not only do astronauts have the enviable privilege of traveling in space, but now they get to use Google’s intriguing 3D-mapping Project Tango phones. Well, to be more precise, their automated, hovering robots get to use the handsets. Now we’re even more jealous!

NASA is using the Google-provided devices to improve its Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) robots, which float throughout the International Space Station using small bursts of CO2—and yes, Reuters says their design is inspired by the ball that Luke Skywalker swats at with a lightsaber in the original Star Wars.

Engineers originally used off-the-shelf smartphones to augment the SPHERES’ precise movement capabilities, but could only do so much with common tech. With Project Tango’s augmented reality and world-mapping abilities, the robots should be able to perform tasks throughout the station and perhaps replace many of the everyday tasks that astronauts must perform while aboard.

And while developers are slated to get access to Project Tango kits later this year and consumers will have to wait until 2015 to get an LG-branded tablet, astronauts will have the tech in space within days—the handsets are set to take off on a cargo spacecraft this Friday, 11 July.

[Source: Reuters]

READ MORE: Google “equipping tablets with 3D mapping Project Tango tech”

Oculus announces Connect conference for September

It seems like things are really heating up for Oculus VR and its Rift headset. Development Kit 2 is shipping this month for pre-orders, the company is adding prominent gaming industry members to its team, and now Oculus plans to jazz up its burgeoning creators community with the Oculus Connect conference in September.

Oculus Connect will be held in Hollywood, California from 19-20 September, and feature keynotes from founder Palmer Luckey and CTO John Carmack, among others, as well as glimpses into “the future of the medium” and developer workshops. No doubt, the company aims to build even more momentum around the device and virtual reality on the whole as an eventual consumer release nears—perhaps as soon as 2015.

[Source: Oculus Blog]

READ MORE: Oculus VR founder tells Stuff: We’re going to sell Rift at cost price

More after the break...

Watch 14 minutes of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel gameplay

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is one of the biggest remaining last-gen console games still on the horizon, and E3 attendees last month were treated to a lengthy demo of the humor-soaked, gravity-taunting first-person shooter experience. Now you too can take in the action, as 2K Games has posted a 14-minute narrated walkthrough just like the one seen at E3.

And while only currently announced for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, don’t be surprised if it makes a new-gen console appearance as well. 2K Australia’s Tony Lawrence tells gamereactorTV that they’ll consider bumping it up to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but that the game will only launch on older consoles and PC this autumn. Seeing as Borderlands 2 is 2K’s best-selling game ever, don’t be surprised to see that new-gen port come spring.

[Sources: YouTube; gamereactorTV via Metro]

READ MORE: Borderlands 2 review

Tour the world’s largest cruise ship with Google Maps

Seeking a quick glance at utter decadence, whether it’s to revel in or rage at? Royal Caribbean is here to help, as it has unleashed a Google Maps-powered tour of the Allure of the Seas, dubbed the world’s largest cruise ship. The ship is 362 metres in length and holds some 6,296 passengers, says Telegraph.

The Allure of the Seas features wildly different “neighborhoods,” including the lavish shopping mall in the Royal Promenade, along with Central Park, which takes its cues from the famed New York landmark of the same name. You can check those out in the photo-by-photo tour, along with the surfing machine, restaurants, and rooms.

[Source: Telegraph]

READ MORE: Fully Charged: Insane mile-long cruise ship, Apple’s financial results, and new Star Wars bloopers

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