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NASA, Microsoft team up for virtual assistance

NASA, Microsoft team up for virtual assistance

Although the explosion of the SpaceX rocket in late June grounded the NASA/Microsoft Sidekick project for the time being, the partners still hope to get the HoloLens augmented reality system to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station to give them Earth-bound expert assistance when and where they need it and reduce crew training requirements.

Sidekick works in two different ways, expert mode and procedure mode. Expert mode uses Skype to show an  operator on Earth what ISS crew members sees, allowing the earthbound expert to coach them through tasks with real-time guidance or  drawn annotations, rather than relying on written or voice instructions. Procedure mode uses holographic illustrations displayed on top of objects being used by the crew.

Sidekick will be used and evaluated in NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 20 expedition in July when a group of astronauts and engineers will spend two weeks living in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station.

The project is part of a bigger part of a larger NASA/Microsoft partnership to explore applications of holographic computing in space. Another program, known as OnSight, will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using the HoloLens technology.

Posted by Derek Major on Jul 06, 2015 at 10:38 AM


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