NASA is putting Microsoft's HoloLens to work in space

When its mixed reality headset was first announced, Microsoft touted its ability to lend a hand in a variety of enterprise scenarios. The company teamed up with NASA for Sidekick: a project that is putting HoloLens on the International Space Station to give virtual aid to astronauts. The project uses the tech in two ways to offer support a crew member wouldn't ordinarily have while completing a task. First, Remote Expert Mode uses Skype to give someone on the ground a view of exactly what the astronaut is seeing. From there, a colleague can remotely guide the task or scribble notes and drawings in the astronaut's view -- all in real time. A Procedure Mode overlays animated holographic illustrations on top of real objects for reference. Not only could this cut down on training time, but it could provide a valuable guide in situations plagued by communication delays.

Microsoft's gadget has already been tested on NASA's Weightless Wonder C9 jet to ensure it would still function properly in a free-fall environment. The first HoloLens headsets are scheduled to be delivered to the ISS as part of SpaceX's resupply trip on June 28th. NASA projects that astronauts will begin using the device as part of Sidekick by the end of 2015.