NASA and Microsoft collaborate to develop Sidekick based on HoloLens

Microsoft and NASA have teamed up to bring commercial VR tech in the form of the Microsoft HoloLens to the ISS in a new product called Sidekick. Sidekick uses HoloLens to give astronauts virtual aid when working off the Earth, a pair of Sidekicks are scheduled to be sent to the ISS on the SpaceX Dragon capsule on June 28.

NASA says that its goal with Sidekick was to enable the crew with assistance when needed, to reduce the training requirements, and increase the efficiency that crews bring to work in orbit. Sidekick has been in testing on the NASA C9 jet known as the Weightless Wonder that is able to create the feeling of weightlessness here on Earth.

Sidekick offers two modes with one being called Remote Expert mode that uses Skype to allow the ground operator to see what the crewmember sees. This allows the ground crew to provide the flight crew with real-time guidance. The ground crew can also draw annotations in the crewmember environment to coach the crew through a task.

The second Sidekick mode is called Procedure Mode and it augments standalone procedures with animated holographic instructions displayed over objects that the crew on the ISS is interacting with. NASA hopes that this ability will reduce the amount of training that astronauts need in the future. if you want more detials on the microsoft HoloLens that Sidekick is based on, check out our hands-on with HoloLens.