We've known from some time that Microsoft and NASA have teamed up to send a some HoloLens headsets to the International Space Station to aid astronauts in their work up in the orbit. It appears the headsets have finally landed on the International Space Station (via Popular Science). We've already heard about the possible uses of the headset in the space, but the folks at Popular Science managed to interview NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko and asked them about the uses of the headset.
Scott Kelly said,
You know I actually got the opportunity to try that out before I launched, and it seems like there are certain capabilities that would be good for us onboard the space station. One would be, you know right now we look at the computer or an iPad to look at procedures. And if you could have a procedure right in your field-of-view, something that was command-able with your voice, you know where you could scroll through the different steps, that would be helpful. It also has this capability where somebody on the ground perhaps could be looking basically at what you’re looking at, and be able to write in your field of view. So let’s say we’re working on a piece of hardware, and we’re not that familiar with it, but we have an expert on the ground, you know that person could basically see what we’re seeing and make annotations, point to things, and kind of lead us through a particular activity. You know that’s one of the many capabilities of that, or similar hardware, that we’re excited about.
HoloLens offers holographic images, basically augmented reality, which doesn't block out the real environment around you but lets you add holographic images to it. As mentioned previously, this will give people on the ground the ability to see what the astronauts are looking at, and provide them with expert opinion to help them with their experiments.
As for availability, the HoloLens is not coming out any time soon. The first copies, which will be sent out to registered developers as a HoloLens Development Edition, with a will carry a whopping $3,000 price tag. The public will have to wait before they can play around with the headset.