To make it easier for their astronauts to follow directions when their hands are full, NASA is designing a pair of wearable glasses.
Being an astronaut is probably a pretty sweet deal. You get to fulfill your childhood dream of seeing space up close! You get to float in a rocket in zero gravity conditions! And most importantly, you get to eat freeze dried ice cream that never melts and is always delicious. The life of an astronaut becomes slightly more troublesome, however, when they have repair the ship or conduct an experiment; to find out what they’re meant to do they have to flip through index cards to find a solution.
As anybody who has tried to set up an Ikea product with a hammer and a nail in hand will tell you, trying to flip through physical instructions when your hands are full is more or less impossible. For astronauts that’s a serious thing seeing as a quick solution might be the difference between life or having their rocket crash back down to Earth. That’s especially the case as the current alternative to those paper guides is a phone call back to Earth, but if the astronauts go as far as Mars then it will take 20 minutes for their message to be received. That time only grows the further away from the planet the ship gets.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is hoping to solve this problem with a pair of wearable glasses. They’re teaming up with a San Francisco company called Osterhout Design Group to design the augmented reality tech and the hope is that they’ll be able to upload how-to guides to the glasses so that astronauts can access directions in a pinch.
Sean Carter, a strategic partnerships manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston explains that “It’s our goal to approach the programs shortly thereafter. I don’t know that the crew will let us wait that long” so we can probably expect some more developments on this soon.
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