NASA has recently announced that it will team up with Osterhout Design Group to pursue the possibility of a set of augmented reality glasses for use aboard the International Space Station. However, these glasses are not limited to just the ISS. They may also have applications on trips to Mars and local meteors.
Sean Carter, NASA’s business lead, said that the agency went through numerous talks with a variety of agencies in order to zone in on the best set. It was a yearlong evaluation period, and Google Glass was a definite contender. At the time of the discussion, Google was focused on amassing a consumer base rather than any specific business applications.
ODG produces smart eyewear with industrial applications in mind. They have been selling and developing augmented reality glasses for the last six years, and can count the U.S. government as one of their business partners.
These things are no joke. They have the power of a modern tablet or a slightly older laptop computer, all built into a set of glasses that look fairly innocuous, considering the wealth of technology packed into each one.
ODG’s R-6 Smart Glasses come with an “Integrated Inertial Measuring Unit with 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, and 3-axis magnetometer.” In addition, the user can monitor ambient light and altitude.
How does this all work for NASA? The ability of these augmented reality glasses to show a multiplicity of information at any given time can assist astronauts in keeping tabs on everything that is happening aboard the ISS. In addition, the glasses will replace older manuals, allowing quick fixes and repairs aboard should something go haywire.
“Just put the glasses on and say ‘Next step,’ and you’re looking through an instruction manual. It’s beautiful, they are amazing.” said Carter at an interview with the San Francisco Times.
It’s expected that the augmented reality glasses will be able to set digital marker highlights on particular parts and controls that the astronaut should be aware of when working on the space station.
NASA will first test the glasses using their deep water space simulation environment. Should they pass the text, you can expect to see astronauts donning these by the end of next year.