NASA researchers to traverse Mars with HoloLens

By: Vamien McKalin
2 minute read

HoloLens is a device that could become the future of computing, and Microsoft is willing to do whatever it takes to get it there. One of the many ways the software giant is pushing HoloLens is by working with NASA, and if everything goes according to plan, scientists could reach a point of controlling rovers with the HoloLens AR device.

None of us regular folks will get the chance to do this, but who cares? Imagine the possibilities for consumers if NASA could use HoloLens in such a fashion? We understand that HoloLens will be mainly used by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) team.

Here’s what Alex Menzies, the software lead for augmented and virtual reality development at JPL, had to say:

“My average day is that I go to the office, have my coffee, nip off to Mars for a little while, check out the latest location, write some code, and then I’m back home in time for dinner,”

The ability for scientists to traverse mars using the Curiosity Rover not only relies on HoLolens, but the OnSight software. This software use images taken from the Rover and make them visible through HoloLens. It doesn’t give scientists the ability to live control the Rover through Microsoft’s augmented reality device, but this is the close researchers will get for now.

“Whenever new images get downlinked from the rover, we go through and build a full 3D scene automatically in the cloud, and that streams to the scientists’ devices,” Menzies explained. “So, they are able to put on the HoloLens and walk around on the surface of Mars shortly after the downlink is completed.”

Microsoft teaming up with NASA on this could propel the HoloLens AR device to new heights. It could cause for other companies to take a look at the HoloLens and what it can do, and no doubt, the consumer market will light up with excitement.

We hope Microsoft manages to be successful with HoloLens, because this is something we want to change the world of computing.

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