Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will have a veritable tool which will provide them superior vision for repairs and other operations. The tool is Microsoft’s virtual reality headset, HoloLens.
Both NASA and Microsoft are partnering as a team to develop a new project named Sidekick with a pair of HoloLenses which will carried aboard SpaceX’s seventh commercial resupply mission to the station on June 28.
According to Sam Scimemi, director of the ISS program at NASA Headquarters, future exploration will be replete with cutting edge technologies like HoloLens and other virtual and mixed reality devices. The latest development in technologies will give future explorers more autonomy on future space odysseys including the journey to Mars.
HoloLerns is Microsoft’s answer to Google Glass and consists of a pair of goggles which projects holographic images into the wearer’s line of vision. It will greatly reduce training time and give astronauts a more lifelike scenario of work in space.
In the words of Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft HoloLens will open new avenues in Astronaut training and will help to increase the potential of Astronauts with the help of Holographic Computing.
Project Sidekick incorporates two modes of operation. The first mode is the Remote Expert Mode and enables ground operators to see what the crew member sees via Microsoft Owned Skype. It will help the ground operators to provide real-time guidance and also coach the crew to successfully complete his mission by minutely evaluating the scenario around the crew member. Till now crew had to rely on written or verbal communication while undertaking complex repair or experiments.
The second mode of operation is known as Procedure Mode and improves standalone procedure with the aid of animated Holographic illustrations which is displayed on the objects on which the crew is working upon.
The latest capabilities will considerably lesson training time of the crew and will also help prepare the crew to react effectively to sudden and unforeseen emergencies.