Astronauts over at NASA will be equipped with the most unexpected, yet necessary technology of the moment: AR glasses. Augmented reality glasses were pioneered and popularized by Google with Google Glass, but since the project has gone underground and back into development of the second edition of the wearable, NASA has picked up were the Mountain View giant left off. NASA will be outfitting astronauts with their own AR glasses that will help them train for missions and maybe even use them when walking in space.
The prospect of using AR glasses for space missions that involve repairing, fixing, modifying and troubleshooting equipment, gear and machines is absolutely wonderful, and it seems NASA has seen the promise of a good working experience and a better handling of systems in augmented reality. The AR glasses will be specifically designed for astronauts and will be developed by NASA and Osterhout Design Group, originating from San Francisco.
Besides using augmented reality, NASA also aims to implement virtual reality in training drills and sessions so that astronauts in training can get an accurate hang of how things work when there’s no gravity and you’re in a vacuum. Being an astronaut is not just flying lights and life in the limelight, but requires specialized training and a lot of learning, with which AR and VR glasses might help tremendously. A timeline for when these AR glasses will be released to NASA astronauts hasn’t been disclosed, but at least we know that they are working to make the astronauts’ jobs easier.
Currently, NASA astronauts rely on printed manuals and index cards when doing repairs or troubleshooting in outer space, which is not the most effective way of going about things. With AR glasses, these people could be completely hands-free and be able to fully concentrate on their tasks, instead of concentrating on switching between the manual and real life. I can see a lot of good things coming out of the new development project and we hope that NASA completes research and development as soon as possible.