The U.S. space agency NASA is developing augmented reality smart glasses that could help astronauts carry out difficult repairs in the space. The glasses will also make conducting experiments a lot easier for astronauts. NASA has partnered with San Francisco-based military technology company Osterhout Design Group (ODG) to develop and evaluate smart glasses.
Astronauts can get how-to instructions on their smart glasses
NASA and ODG will explore smart glasses usage both for terrestrial and space-based activities. The aim is to employ ODG’s smart glass technology on NASA’s space missions. ODG’s augmented reality glasses can project information right on the lenses. The glasses include WiFi, Bluetooth, a processor, and sensors that can detect where the user is looking.
NASA says equipping astronauts with smart glasses will make space flight a lot more manageable. Instructions can be sent straight to the user’s eye for repairing and maintaining equipment on space shuttles. The smart glass wearer can send live video feedback to someone knowledgeable about a piece of equipment, and receive audio and visual instructions on the lenses.
It would reduce a huge amount of time astronauts spend on ground training for space missions. Currently, astronauts have to rely on printed instruction manuals to solve a problem when something goes wrong. If it’s a complex technical issue, astronauts have to make phone calls back to the base. But such communications take more time as the spaceship travels farther from the Earth.
NASA may use smart glasses with Orion spacecraft
NASA engineers are working to integrate their software into the augmented reality glasses. The space agency plans to test them later this year in its underwater training facility in the Gulf of Mexico to simulate the environment of space flight. If successful, NASA’s flight program team will send the glasses with astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA plans to use them for helping out astronauts with its Orion spacecraft. The space agency is developing Orion to eventually take humans to Mars.