Augmented and virtual reality devices have gradually encircled a way into the lives of humans, popping up in the cars as well as on headsets. They are now boldly taking a path that no augmented reality or virtual reality device or concept has gone before, into space.
A resupply mission will bring forth two Microsoft HoloLenses to the International Space Station this week. These devices will be used by astronauts as real-time instruction manuals, part of a NASA project known as Project Sidekick. The main idea is to enable closer ad quicker communication between the astronauts in space and ground control.
A technician based in Houston could possibly see what’s seen by an astronaut wearing HoloLens in real-time. The person in ground control could then draw a circle around a particular piece of hardware or button on the space station, while pointing it out to the astronaut and making instructions for experiments or repairs even more clear than depending on a written manual or vocal instruction.
Sam Scimemi, a director of the ISS program said, “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. This new technology could also empower future explorers requiring greater autonomy on the journey to Mars.”
To ensure the devices would work in a low-gravity environment, headsets were put to test on NASA’s Weightless Wonder, a jet letting people to experience some moments of weightlessness in the plane as it dives towards the ground.
Though it is augmented reality (and not virtual reality), it is cleared that it is just a matter of time before astronauts can start getting trapped in the crazy holodeck adventures. It’s obvious, it might make time in cramped quarters of the International Space Station (ISS) fly by.