NASA tests smart glasses for astronauts

NASA tests smart glasses for astronauts

NASA is continuing to build upon its plans to harness virtual and augmented reality for space exploration.  The space agency and Osterhout Design Group announced they are exploring the use of ODG’s Smart Glasses for terrestrial and space-based activities.

ODG’s Glasses allow users to do everything they would also do with a tablet, the company said. They could let astronauts remotely access documents and/or charts, decreasing the weight of materials they carry into space and allowing hands-free work.  As a NASA spokesperson told Computerworld, commercial airline pilots carry around 15 pounds in manuals, but in space exploration, every pound saved counts.   

With the augmented glasses, astronauts could conduct line-of-sight checks with digital markers overlaid on machinery, keeping the user’s eyes focused on the task, according to a release by Osterhout Design Group

“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,” said Lauri Hansen, engineering director at NASA Johnson Space Center.

“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.”

NASA also has partnered with Microsoft to simulate scientists working together in real-time on Mars’s surface. The HoloLens project uses NASA virtual reality software called Onsight to take images from the Curiosity rover and project them as three dimensional holograms allowing scientists to simulate walking on the red planet’s surface. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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