Astronauts using augmented reality for daily work


AR in space? Yes, apparently.


Gadget360 reports the International Space Station is getting a type of augmented reality system that will help astronauts to work on components of their extraterrestrial program without direct input from ground control.


“Usually, astronauts are given instructions from ground control on a PDF file that can be viewed on a computer or tablet,” writes the unnamed author in a piece live today. “But holding these gadgets in hand while working on machinery in a tight space limits productivity. In a blog post, NASA said the T2 Augmented Reality project helps display instructions in the goggles of astronauts and direct their gaze with 3D cues, showing them the actual work sites. It can also follow verbal instructions to navigate procedures. This eases the process of inspection and maintenance.”


ISS staff will use Microsoft Hololens, and if you haven’t heard of this before, don’t worry – it’s pretty obscure.


Microsoft defines this nascent product as “mixed reality for business” and an “ergonomic and untethered self-contained holographic device useful in various kinds of business.”


In manufacturing, Microsoft spokespersons suggests, Hololens can reduce downtime. In healthcare, it can enhance different types of patient care and clinical outcomes. In education, it can enable instructors to “teach from anywhere.”


These types of visual overlays have been popular in different engineering projects innovating various industries.


In the context of the space program, the Gadget360 writer suggests the AR may be useful in programs like Project Artemis, where NASA is currently using P1 and P2 probes looking toward a future of more robust moon landings.


If AR is that useful in space, it will probably soon be doing some of the above things in earthly business, too. Look for this type of technology to proliferate as we move into the next phase of today’s digital era.