NASA to give Microsoft's HoloLens a spin in space

NASA is sending Microsoft's HoloLens to the International Space Station for collaboration and training uses.

Credit: NASA

NASA said it will send Microsoft's HoloLens to the International Space Station to assist astronauts with various projects.

The project, called Sidekick, will kick off when two HoloLens devices are launched to the International Space Station (ISS) via a SpaceX delivery.

For Microsoft, the NASA project is a high profile proof of concept of what's possible for HoloLens commercially.

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HoloLens was pitched as a collaboration and gaming tool earlier this year. Microsoft is expected to push the device more as it launches Windows 10 in July.

NASA and Microsoft said in a statement that HoloLens could provide assistance as well as training. The HoloLens will have two modes. The first is used to tap into an expert for help remotely using Skype. Under that scenario, a ground crew could guide an astronaut through a repair or experiment.

The second mode is focused on procedures and would overlay illustrations and holograms on objects.

Before heading to the ISS, Microsoft's HoloLens was tested in NASA's Weightless Wonder C9 jet. The goal with that experiment was to see how the HoloLens would handle the space station's environment.

HoloLens will be evaluated in a series of NASA expeditions, including undersea in a research station.