NASA wants to develop smart glasses for astronauts to use in future missions. The space agency plans to collaborate with Osterhout Design Group (ODG) to develop the device that will be used for “virtual reality and augmented reality applications” during various missions, including for repairs and other such mechanical tasks.
NASA, together with ODG, stated during a press release that these smart glasses should offer astronauts such possibilities as:“line of sight check lists”, direct support via telepresence and “the ability to overlay digital markers on machinery or equipment without the user needing keep eyes and hands focused in multiple arease.
ODG will use a technology based on sensors which analyze the surrounding environment, where the astronaut is looking and his movements. This technological idea isn’t novel as Google has been “playing” with it for years, in the development of its own Google Glass. Although smart glasses were designed for general public, the benefits it could bring astronauts are much greater.
An article on the Gizmondo site explains just that:
“The ODG Smart Glasses are basically a full Android tablet you can wear on your head, with a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip. Only instead of a touchscreen, you get a transparent heads-up display: the equivalent of a 55-inch 3D screen floating eight feet in front of your face. With a pair of 720p microdisplays, you could use it as your own private 3D movie theater like a Sony HMZ headset, but without any of the cords. Or, with its 5-megapixel camera and boatload of sensors, use it for whatever augmented reality applications developers might dream up.”
With the help of smart glasses, astronauts will be able to keep track of important parameters such as engine status and habitability, which will be posted directly in front of them, without the need to search in various places or computers. The device can also warn the person whenever something is wrong with the engine.
The ODG smart glasses will enter the testing phase this year. The experiment will take place in an undersea lab where space flight simulations can be conducted. The research team hopes the device will be put into practical effects as soon as possible. According to Sean Carter, a strategic partnership manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, a review from astronauts testing the device will be done by fall.
Image Source: Consolidate Times