Microsoft’s HoloLens is so futuristic that its implications haven’t quite sunk in for the majority of us. NASA, however, is eager to start taking advantage of the advanced holographic technology in space programs. So eager in fact, that NASA is including two of the HoloLenses on the International Space Station resupply mission that is set to leave earth on the 28th of June, so this Sunday. The resupply mission is one contracted between SpaceX and NASA.
NASA is calling the project involving HoloLens “Sidekick,” and it does seem a little unfair that astronauts orbiting over 200 miles away from Earth get the opportunity to play with HoloLens before many of us Earth dwellers do, but hey, so it goes. The director of ISS Sam Scimemi comments:
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.
Of course no statement about space nowadays would be complete without the mention of Mars, would it?
This new technology could also empower future explorers requiring greater autonomy on the journey to Mars.
Sidekick will include two modes, “Procedure Mode” and “Remote Expert Mode.” The former will display animations and holograms to the wearer of Sidekick, providing real time overlaid instructions and procedures to astronauts. “Remote Expert Mode” uses Skype to communicate with an on ground expert, who can see a first person view of the person wearing Sidekick and relay instructions verbally, in writing, as well as draw over the live video feed.
After the devices arrive at the space station, crewmembers will test and verify the software and hardware functionality in a standalone mode. A second set of devices to be delivered on a future mission will test and verify Sidekick functionality with network connectivity to test the Remote Expert Mode. NASA expects astronauts on the station will first use Sidekick by the end of the year.
On a scale from cool, to really fantastically amazingly cool, how cool do you think HoloLens in space is? Let us know your thoughts the comments below, or on social media.