Augmented reality headsets to be worn by astronauts in space

The HoloLens is now being sent into space for NASA employees to test while weightless.

Even though virtual and augmented reality technology based gadgets haven’t really done much in mainstream life down here on Earth, when it comes to people who are living in space, a different situation is underway.

The Microsoft HoloLens is now being sent up to the residents of the International Space Station.

The resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has included 2 Microsoft HoloLens devices that are meant to be used by NASA astronauts. This will allow them to test out the augmented reality technology for uses in weightless scenarios. The astronauts living on the ISS will be given devices that are meant to function as instruction manuals that offer relevant information in real time. This is a component of an existing NASA project that is called Project Sidekick.

The idea of this use of augmented reality is to boost the communication between the ISS and ground control.

In this way, a tech on Earth located in Houston would be able to see exactly what an astronaut wearing the HoloLens AR headset is viewing, and they will see it in real time. That would then make it possible for that individual on the ground to be able to draw a circle around a specific button or hardware on the view of the space station so that the astronaut’s attention can be drawn to it quickly and easily without lengthy descriptions and directions to find it. The idea is to make it easier to offer instructions for conducting experiments and repairs in a more efficient and effective way than written or verbal instructions.

According to the ISS program director, Sam Scimemi, “HoloLens and other virtual and mixed reality devices are cutting edge technologies that could help drive future exploration and provide new capabilities to the men and women conducting critical science on the International Space Station.” He added that the use of this new augmented reality tech could improve opportunities for explorers in the future who require heightened autonomy, such as on a journey to Mars.

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