Augmented Reality can be very useful for many operations; during these months, we saw it used for various purposes, sometimes on mobile devices, sometimes on headsets. If it can be so useful daily on earth, think how much it could improve the life of astronauts in space. This is why NASA is testing a pair of Augmented Reality glasses that, if successful, are going to be used on the International Space Station.
At first, NASA tried to approach repeatedly Google trying to get them to work on a pair of special Google Glasses, but the Company said they were working only on consumers.
So NASA has partnered with San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group (ODG) to develop augmented reality glasses that could supplement computers for astronauts. The ODG Company has been building high-tech glasses for commercial and government use for the past six years, and the latest model pack HD displays and cameras, Wi-Fi, GPS, positional sensors and headphones. Currently these glasses have been used mostly for military use, but now the company, while testing also with NASA, is preparing a version for the consumer market.
The primary objective is to help astronauts fixing equipment in space: now they do that just reading printed instructions, but with these new glasses, they would be able to get the directions directly in front of their eyes since they will be uploaded in the headset. This will leave their hands free, also, making it easier to fix.
“As electronic directions and instructions replace paper checklists and longer duration missions are considered, there is a need for tools that can meet evolving demands. ODG’s technology provides an opportunity to increase space mission efficiencies and we are pleased to explore its potential in human spaceflight while also advancing its use here on earth.” said NASA Johnson Space Center Engineering Director Lauri Hansen. “Just put the glasses on and say ‘Next step,’ and you’re looking through an instruction manual”.
The glasses are currently being tested in NASA’s underwater Extreme Environment Mission Operations lab before being used on the ISS.