Microsoft and NASA collaborated on a side project aptly named Project Sidekick that would put the company’s latest device, the HoloLens, to use during its stay on the International Space Station. About two weeks ago, details surfaced on how NASA planned to use Microsoft’s new augmented reality headset, which included a focus on “reducing the risk of human error when dealing with sensitive equipment.”
When news broke of HoloLens coming out NASA testing and finally making its way to the International Space Station roughly twenty days ago, we reported on the specifics of the collaboration.
Project Sidekick, more than anything, aims to make the lives of astronauts easier and safer by reducing the risk of human error when dealing with sensitive equipment. Sidekick offers astronauts in the International Space Station two new ways to ensure the quality of their work: Remote Expert Mode and Procedure mode. Remote Expert Mode is exactly what it sounds like – it connects an astronaut with an expert remotely. By using Skype, HoloLens connects an astronaut to a live, interactive feed of an expert who can help them with audio/visual queues, where until now that astronaut would need to rely on written instructions. Procedure mode uses the distinct capabilities of the HoloLens to augment reality to create an intuitive interface for Astronauts working with sensitive equipment, creating a holographic overlay to make instructions crystal clear.”
A new video has since surfaced, showcasing what Project Sidekick looks like in action. The short one minute and ten-second video, give viewers some details from experts about the projects testing phases, a glimpse of the field of view, collaboration tools used by astronauts and NASA as well as a short debriefing from recently returned astronaut Scott Kelly.
A lot it packed into the video and may require a second or third viewing to grasp it all, but for fans of space, science, technology or Microsoft, it could be well worth the time.