WATCH: International Space Station reveals video showing astronauts training with HoloLens in parabolic flight
Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens will soon be heading into orbit after NASA announced a new project that will see astronauts use it aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Dubbed Sidekick, the project will allow astronauts to use HoloLens as a virtual aid when working on the ISS. Two HoloLens devices are set to be launched for the ISS on June 28 aboard a SpaceX resupply mission.
“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,” said Sam Scimemi, director of the ISS program at NASA.
“This new technology could also empower future explorers requiring greater autonomy on the journey to Mars.”
Sidekick will see HoloLens used in two different modes. A ‘Remote Expert Mode’ will use Skype to enable a technician on Earth see what the crew member is seeing on board ISS. This will allow the ground staff to remotely provide real-time guidance, annotating and directing the crew member’s environment whilst wearing the HoloLens.
A second mode, called ‘Procedure Mode’, projects procedures with animated holographic illustrations on too of the objects with which the astronauts are dealing with. This mode can be thought of as an illustrated step-by-step guide for tasks when a ground operator is not available. Microsoft said that this mode will also be useful for training future crews.
An official release date for the consumer version of HoloLens has not yet been revealed by Microsoft, aside from a general statement that it will be released “for the Windows 10 era”.