Tag: microsoft 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.

Qualcomm decides to call it quits with augmented reality

Though the company had been working hard to create its own smartglasses, it has now dropped the tech.

With a number of new players in the augmented reality glasses sector – greatly pushed forward by the HoloLens by Microsoft – there have been some companies that have decided to step back or completely step out of this wearable technology space, and Qualcomm has now included itself among them.

Qualcomm has now decided to sell its AR technology business to PTC, an Internet of Things (IoT) firm.

The sale of the augmented reality business has occurred for an undisclosed sum, at the time of the writing of this article. It will include the Vuforia platform and SDK which makes it possible for partners and developers to be able to create their own AR experiences. Vuforia has been operational for about five years and has already been used for a number of sizeable projects, such as the Sesame Street mobile app, a miniaturized TARDIS, as well as the unique driving goggles that were created for Mini.

It isn’t entirely clear whether PTC intends to maintain the Vuforia augmented reality platform as it is.

Augmented Reality Quit by QualcommThe company may also be interested in the underlying AR technology but it could alter it into something of a different nature. What is known is that the company has purchased the entire business, outright.

The purchase includes everything right down to the “developer ecosystem”, which means that it is more than likely that the projects that are currently in development will be able to progress forward as they have been, at least for the moment. Anything that should come of those projects will now be the property of the new owner.

From the side of Qualcomm, though it is evident that they are stepping out of the augmented reality space, it has still said that it intends to “continue to drive computer vision technology that will unlock a wide variety of applications for consumers and businesses around the world.” No additional specifics were provided with regards to precisely what that would entail, but that is not abnormal when it comes to this type of announcement.