NASA Really Wants Microsoft's HoloLens On The ISS

| 14 Sep 2015 18:43

NASA is determined to send the HoloLens to the International Space Station. The first attempt failed, but another is scheduled for December 3.

When a SpaceX rocket exploded shortly after launch on June 29, it delayed the delivery of two HoloLens headsets from Microsoft to the astronauts of the International Space Station. However, NASA is determined to get those sets up there, so a two more are scheduled to go up on a December 3 launch.

It may seem a bit unusual that NASA is so adamant to get this augmented reality technology into the hands of their crew as soon as possible, but NASA has a method to its madness. The Microsoft product, which should be available to developers next year and consumers at some future date, will be used to allow experts on the ground see through the astronauts' eyes and help them with tasks they may be unfamiliar with.

According to Jeff Norris, project manager of two HoloLens projects at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA is also considering other applications:

Apparently keeping track of where things are and how to find them is a big challenge on the space station, even though objects have bar codes on them and are organized with a database. NASA has prototyped an app that can be used to recognize an object and show the HoloLens wearer a path to follow that leads to where the object should be stored, Norris said.

NASA has already tested how the project, dubbed Sidekick, will work in zero-G using its "Weightless Wonder" C9 aircraft. Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft described the Sidekick project as "a prime example of an application for which we envisioned HoloLens being used - unlocking new potential for astronauts and giving us all a new perspective on what is possible with holographic computing."

Source: MIT Technology Review

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