Tag: hololens

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.

Augmented reality headset may still be five years away for Microsoft

The HoloLens has made it into the headlines quite regularly but may not be available for half a decade.

There are a growing number of entrants making their way into the augmented reality headset realm, but despite the increasingly large number of devices, this category remains quite small, is far from mainstream, and most will admit that the devices themselves have not quite reached the point in which the average user will be using them.

Microsoft appears to be no exception to this trend as their HoloLens now looks to be half a decade away.

The augmented reality head mounted display (HMD) called the Microsoft HoloLens is “really a five-year journey,” said Satya Nadella, the CEO of the company when speaking at the Dreamforce customer conference from Salesforce, last week. Despite the fact that HoloLens is soon to be rolled out on a very slow and gradual basis within certain specific industries. This will be the first slow step that will occur well before consumers ever see it on their own market shelves. This will give the company the opportunity to test the headset before attempting to appeal to the average consumer.

These augmented reality glasses were also supposed to head to space, but were blown up in an explosion this summer.

Microsoft - Augmented RealityStill, the HoloLens is among the products that has generated the most excitement for the company over the last while, as the demos have been quite successful until now. The headset uses AR technology to superimpose digital images over top of the view of the real world. The wearer can interact with those digital images while still being able to see what is going on around him or her.

Despite the fact that this kind of AR technology requires a considerable amount of computing power, Microsoft is determined to make it possible for the HoloLens to function without having to be paired with a computer.

At the same time, packing all that computing power – in the form of sensors, processors, and other gadgets – into what is essentially a pair of glasses (that are attractive enough that a consumer will wear them) is the primary challenge being faced. Because of this, it will require more time before these augmented reality gadgets are finished.