Augmenting reality in space, enhancing reality on Earth

With new bits and bobs constantly being attached to the International Space Station and several sets of experiments starting to run, life on board the ISS is getting ever more complicated for the six person crew on board. Now ESA astronaut and soon to be ISS commander Frank De Winne is testing a system that may make things a little easier.

Wearable Augmented Reality (WEAR) is an ESA designed system whereby the astronaut wears a visor that can provide information on whatever they are looking at. Got some delicate procedure to deal with? The visor will identify where your tools are and tell you what to do with them and where. This is designed to be a replacement for the paper manuals still presently used on the station, freeing up astronaut hands and removing at least one floating hazard from the work area.

Meanwhile, transferring some of the technology and experimental results into real world business opportunities has been the subject of a recent ESA competition. During a week long conference run by the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) and organised by ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office in cooperation with ESA Human Spaceflight’s Erasmus Centre as well as the Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University (RSM), students were divided into teams competing to provide business solutions for technologies supplied by Dutch Space.

This was the fifth such CEMS and one of a series of ventures run by the TTPO.

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