Black Orb Just Wants Someone To Talk With


A team at the Royal College of Art has created Space Replay, a floating black orb that records and plays back conversations from passers-by. Space Replay is a neutrally buoyant helium balloon carrying a small payload. An Arduino, an Adafruit Wave Shield, and a small speaker make up the balloons’ brain. The team used the waverp library to record and play back sounds through their shield. 3 lithium coin cells power the system. A small vacuum formed plastic housing keeps all the internal parts together, as well as acts as a small speaker cone to amplify sounds entering and leaving the orb.

As the video shows, the final result is rather creepy. A slight breeze in a subway station caused the orb to move slowly down the hallway. One would think that space replay would freak a few people out, or at least entice the curious to touch it. Other than one amused elevator rider, the unflappable London public paid no mind to it. Maybe if it had some tea…


  1. Doctor Device says:

    so, now we know what the early stages of Rover development look like… I wouldn’t think urban spaces would be good preparation for the deserts surrounding The Village.

    • Rob says:

      At long last, Rover has a friend. It’s no longer alone in the universe. Of course, the question remains as to whether even Rover would be allowed to leave the Village.

  2. Adam says:

    Anyone who thinks the girls reaction was real is an idiot, like she wouldn’t notice the cameraman in the lift (who changed angle like four times) while staring nonchalantly at the big floaty balloon.

  3. Dax says:

    It’s interesting how stable they made it without any dynamic control of volume and pressure of the ball.

    Or the video is just “best attempts”, which would explain the lack of interest by the passerbys. It’s all staged.

  4. wretch says:

    That is so cool and well creepy. (c:

    The next version will have a steel casing with a human head inside and armed with razor sharp knives, and there’ll be billions of them controlled by The Master.

  5. montieris says:

    We want information …

    Is this a modern cousin of Rover?

  6. RP says:

    Cue “Thus spake Zarathustra” from the beginning of 2001 A Space Odyssey.

  7. chas says:
  8. bryan says:

    came for the Rover comments.

    …went away satisfied ;)

  9. hmmm… It would be interesting to build a piezo style battery charger so the sounds would also power it. I bet the weight-power ratio would be off though. : (

  10. dave says:

    creepy as fuck! wow

  11. vonskippy says:

    Wheres my Tennis racket.

  12. soopergooman says:

    I would have so bopped it with m fist and ran away laughing hysterically. just to freak them out.

  13. echodelta says:

    A servo and a syringe, where is the death star!

  14. LoganFive says:

    It’s the Loc Nar.

  15. Matt says:

    Looks like the tunnel between West Kensington tube station and the Science Museum.

  16. Chris says:

    reminds me of the phantasm balls

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