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NASA's taking Microsoft's HoloLens to the space station

Mark Hachman | June 26, 2015
The NASA Sidekick program will use Microsoft's HoloLens as a tool to allow NASA ground control to peer over the shoulders of NASA engineers.

Sidekick also will be used and evaluated during the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 20 expedition set to begin July 21, when a group of astronauts and engineers live in the world's only undersea research station, Aquarius, for two weeks, NASA said.

Still, the future is bright. In January, Microsoft walked us through a demonstration where they put reporters in front of a live light switch and asked us to wire it up. HoloLens projected a virtual Skype window that I could drag and drop in (or out) of my immediate field of view. The remote technician then walked me through the procedure, orally--and more importantly, visually-- showing me what to do. That was a brand-new procedure for me, and HoloLens made it extremely simple.

Can HoloLens survive the rigors of outer space? Will the latency from the space station to the ground (nearly a second, round trip) affect its effectiveness? How useful will it ultimately prove? These are all fascinating questions, and one which the ISS stress test will ultimately help to answer.


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