The U.S. space agency, NASA, is planning to provide smart glasses to its astronauts which would assist them in their work on the International Space Station. The space agency has recently signed a contract with the Osterhout Design Group for providing smart glasses for training purposes, and eventually for using in space. The glasses would be capable of displaying a large array of information as one 3D image. It will also help in monitoring and recording the position of the astronaut, along with his actions and altitude while performing routine tasks like spacewalks. ISS officials are hoping that the smart glasses would help them in longer and more in-depth future missions.
NASA’s engineering director Lauri Hansen commented “As electronic directions and instructions replace paper checklists and longer duration missions are considered, there is a need for tools that can meet evolving demands.” Hansen added “ODG’s technology provides an opportunity to increase space mission efficiencies and we are pleased to explore its potential in human spaceflight while also advancing its use here on Earth.”
By overlaying a 3D schematic onto reality, the glasses will allow the astronauts to measure their progress while performing repairs. It would also behave as an electronic checklist and would issue important reminders regarding handling of certain pieces of equipments. The glasses would be equipped with a camera for taking pictures and immediately transmitting them to ground control or sharing with other member of the space station. ODG team stated “the “sixth-generation Smart Glasses are the first to be made available to a broader customer set.” They have also claimed that the products are “untethered for the ultimate hands-free experience.”
The glasses are equipped with “military-grade technology” and run on the Android Jelly Bean operating system. Six years and $60 million were spent to perfect the glasses. Initially NASA had planned to employ its own engineers for developing the project but later it decided to sign a contract with an independent commercial contractor. The space agency hopes that with the help of these new glasses, the astronauts will be able to perform routine tasks and repair in a safer and more practical manner.