Astronauts aboard the International Space Station must constantly field orders from a team on the ground.
The give-and-take between the crews essentially allows the International Space Station to function. However, now, they may have found a way to work even better — by introducing Microsoft's HoloLens and its augmented reality.
Motherboard is reporting that NASA has teamed up with Microsoft to give astronauts a "holographic instructional manual" via HoloLens. So, now, the workload coming from the ground up could appear to astronauts more clearly via the mix of holograms and augmented reality.
"As opposed to virtual reality which removes you from the real world, with HoloLens the real world plays just as much into the experience as the digital assets," Alex Kipman, from Microsoft's technical staff, told Motherboard. "We're adding photons to the back of your eye. They feel anchored and pinned in the real world, but are see through."
Added Jeff Norris, of NASA's jet propulsion lab: "It is operationally significant to see an astronaut's perspective as they work. Historically this is not a perspective that's been easy to get until now."
The HoloLens outfitted for astronauts aboard the ISS will operate in remote expert mode and procedure mode. The former will allow ground control personnel to see through the eyes of an astronaut, even allowing them to draw out plans for the astronauts. The latter mode essentially prepares instruction via holograms for astronauts to view.
Motherboard reports that with HoloLens, astronauts will be able to connect to the exact expert on the ground, no matter what their area of concern.
The website adds that both NASA and Microsoft made sure that the incorporation of the HoloLens aboard the ISS didn't result in astronauts experiencing any nausea or headaches.
HoloLens will be used aboard NASA's Cygnus spacecraft this week.