Astronauts' suits to come with matching PC accessories

Whatever next: Windows in space?
Written by Heather McLean, Contributor

Whatever next: Windows in space?

By 2005 astronauts will be able to communicate with the Earth and their spaceship through small video screens inserted into their helmets. The new technology, which is being developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for NASA, has been named WearSAT - Wearable Situation Aware Terminal. It uses a low-power embedded Risc microprocessor plus the IEEE-developed wireless local area network standard 802.11b and a VGA (Video Graphics Array) display system, developed by IBM, that is now the minimum standard for PCs. Astronauts currently receive information through a radio transmitter. NASA hopes the new system will increase the performance of astronauts by enabling them to complete tasks using technical diagrams and schematics beamed straight to their helmets. The new devices are likely to look like a pair of sunglasses as space in the suits is rather scarce. Space suits currently cost between $10m and $20m.
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