NASA, the space agency, has always needed a way to play with ideas and see what can be created. Ever since the near failure of the Apollo 13 mission where astronauts and NASA staff at Mission Control scrambled to jerry-jig a solution to a problem in space using only the available parts on the spacecraft, the space agency has known it needed to be flexible.
The next step in their troubleshooting procedures could well get a boost from their trial of early features available through HoloLens in a collaboration with Microsoft developers in the HoloLens division.
Sidekick is the name of the project that uses HoloLens technologies to create 3D schematics that NASA staff or astronauts can manipulate in a virtual setting. The ability to move pieces around, rotate them, and visualize schematics is a useful tool for space-going astronauts and staff who need to be seeing the same thing together even when separated by the vast distance of space.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is involved with the 3D visualization tool used in “Procedure Mode.” Currently the schematics that the NASA team can visualize are quite basic, but engineers are still able to zoom into individual components to get a closer look. As the HoloLens hardware and software continues to develop, this holds interesting possibilities for the US space agency.