Do you remember Project Sidekick? It ‘s the name of the collaboration between Microsoft HoloLens headset and NASA: two samples of Microsoft’s new product for augmented reality vision have been sent to ISS, the International Space Station, for testing and studying the use of alternative realities in space.
The first step, actually, was to test the headset off the coast of Florida during a NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) mission, held underwater to simulate absence of gravity and extreme conditions. After this test, HoloLens reached the international team of astronauts to be tested in orbit. Sidekick Project has two modes: Remote Expert Mode and Procedure Mode; the first one lets experts on the ground see through Skype what the astronauts are doing, helping them with difficult and delicate tasks, the second helps astronauts learn how tools and machines work. All this is possible taking advantage of augmented reality.
Sam Scimemi, director for International Space Station at NASA headquarters, said about these tests that “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.”
For sure HoloLens is pretty handy in situations in which it’s necessary to be supported by the ground base o to fix a broken machine, but this doesn’t kill the recreational side of the device; Tim Peake and Scott Kelly, part of the ISS Team, took advantage of this to have a pause from work and test augmented reality in space, but another kind than the one you could expect: in the video they play an interesting Space Invaders match in the air 😉