HoloLens headset tried by NASA in the NEEMO mission

/ / Augmented reality @en

There’s nothing to say: Microsoft’s augmented reality headset, the famous HoloLens, knows how to make people talk. After the demonstration at gamers’ conference, during which Microsoft showed us the future of Minecraft when implemented with augmented reality, we passed directly to the collaboration with NASA and the space missions. In fact, as already said in a previous post, HoloLens will be used on the ISS, the International Space Station, to help astronauts especially for solving technical issues; in particular it will be used in the missions to Mars, where, since of the distance, the communication are delayed (up to 24 minutes!) and this could create complications in case of malfunctioning.

A HoloLens headset would have reached already the International Space Station, but unluckily it was destroyed in the explosion of the Dragon spacecraft the 28th June. Anyway, even if not in space, the device is being tested: part of the equipment to test, in fact, was destined to be tried underwater, in the NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) station, operative 45 feet (17 meters) underwater off the coast of Key Largo, Florida.

This month NEEMO will house four “waternauts” for 14 days: the captain of the mission, Luca Parmitano (a veteran of Expeditions 36-37 in 2013), never-flown astronauts Serena Auñón (NASA) and Norishige Kanai (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and David Coan, NASA EVA management office engineer. Two technicians, who are also professional divers, live with them in the habitat to run the facility. The mission, started the 20th July, will test some equipment (between which a HoloLens headset and a second headset from another manufacturer) in a extreme environment, similar to the space one, and will help the astronauts getting used to the gravity conditions on asteroids (very low) and on Mars (about 1/3 of Earth gravity).

“We can learn about interaction between crewmembers and the ground control,” Parmitano said of the mission in a televised interview on NASA Television. “We can learn about procedures and ways to make our work effective.”