February 6, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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NASA sent a doctor to the International Space Station in the world’s first “holoportion” work

There has never been a home visit like this before. In the first remote communication, a NASA flight surgeon traveled to the International Space Station (ISS), where he appeared and spoke as a virtual presence in real time, hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface.

If it seems Star TrekYou are not far. (finally, Star Trek: Voyager indistinguishable The art doctor was a 3D projection

But this is not science fiction. When NASA flight surgeon Joseph Schmid was flown to the International Space Station last October, that illusion was made possible by Microsoft’s “global printing” technology, which allows users to interact in real time with 3D representations of remote participants.

“This is [a] An entirely new way of human communication over great distances.” Schmid says:† “It is an entirely new way of human exploration, whereby our humans can travel far from the planet.”

Schmid and other team members during a Holoport session. (ESA/Thomas Pesquet)

Unlike traditional holographic projections that seem to float in the air for all to see, Holoportation technology requires the use of an augmented reality headset, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, so that the wearer can perceive (and communicate with) them, photographed using a multi-camera setting in their physical location.

In this case, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who was aboard the International Space Station wearing this headset, had a two-way conversation with Schmid and members of his medical team, along with CEO Fernando de la Pena Laca. ESA.AEXA Aerospace, which develops custom Holoportation software (the kind that made this ISS session possible).

While Microsoft’s Holoportation technology has been around for several years—in various stages of development—it’s never been used for something as ambitious as this: connecting Earth-focused medical researchers with astronauts on a mission, flying hundreds of miles into orbit around the planet. Height. the sky.

However, this exact type of ability – bridging physical gaps to connect humans across vast distances in space – could be important for future space exploration missions. In this way, scientists can virtually interact with 3D representations in real time of remote participants on Earth, space stations, or other spacecraft, enabling collaboration that can be more engaging and immersive than standard 2D video calls.

Our physical body is not there, but our human certainly is. Schmid says:

“Imagine having the best actual trainer or designer of a complex technology next to you wherever you work.”

NASA flight surgeon Joseph Schmid flew to the International Space Station. (ESA/Thomas Pesquet)

The next step in the evolution of the technology is to enable fully bidirectional Holoportation interactions.

During this experiment, Pesquet was the only participant to wear an augmented reality headset that allowed him to perceive other participants as digital holograms, because Schmid and the other participants did not wear such devices themselves.

Once all participants are equally equipped, the odds of jumping into someone else’s reality can become even more informative and transformative for out-of-the-world astronauts—whether you’re consulting Earth doctors about a medical problem, or sharing key insights about mission goals. with NASA researchers.

“What you’re really achieving are the opportunities for extended spaceflight and more deep space travel,” said Christian Mander, director of research at space infrastructure company AxiomSpace. Statement for the Edge in 2021

“Where you really talk about wanting to create a human connection between your crew – no matter where they’re traveling to – and back to someone on this planet.”

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