ISS Uses AR Headset to Upgrade Particle Physics Hardware

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Blended Actuality headsets aren’t just for enjoying VR video games on Earth: The astronauts aboard the Worldwide House Station are making use of an Augmented Actuality (AR) system based mostly on industrial Microsoft HoloLens {hardware} with custom-designed software program. Just lately, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur used a HoloLens headset to carry out a {hardware} alternative on a extremely complicated piece of kit: The station’s Chilly Atom Lab.

The ISS’s Chilly Atom Lab is a particle physics instrument that chills atoms right down to nearly absolute zero, or minus 459 levels Fahrenheit (minus 273 levels Celsius), at which temperature atoms transfer way more slowly than ordinary and will be studied in better element.

NASA Astronaut Megan McArthur dons a Microsoft HoloLens, a combined actuality (or augmented actuality) headset, which permits her to see each the area round her in addition to digital shows in her subject of view. NASA

This know-how is complicated, and so sustaining the instrument or changing components requires cautious directions despatched to the ISS crew from Earth. With the combined actuality headset, astronaut Megan McArthur might see an overlay of textual content and knowledge when she checked out {hardware} like cables. And the crew on Earth might even use an arrow in her imaginative and prescient to level to specific cables she wanted to unplug.

“Chilly Atom Lab is investing in using this know-how on the area station not simply because it’s intriguing, however as a result of it might present extra capabilities for these complicated duties that we depend on astronauts to carry out,” mentioned Kamal Oudrhiri, Chilly Atom Lab’s venture supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in an announcement. “This exercise was an ideal demonstration of how Chilly Atom Lab and quantum science can benefit from combined actuality know-how.”

With the alternative {hardware}, the instrument now has a brand new functionality: Producing ultracold potassium atoms. The Chilly Atom Lab crew on the bottom says this implies it may be utilized in an entire number of new particle physics experiments.

“This restore exercise permits potassium gases to even be studied in Chilly Atom Lab, which can allow scientists to carry out dozens of latest experiments in quantum chemistry and basic physics utilizing multi-species gases the place the atoms work together with one another in fascinating methods on the ultra-low temperatures solely achievable in microgravity,” mentioned Jason Williams, Chilly Atom Lab’s venture scientist.

“Our objective is for Chilly Atom Lab to turn out to be an evolving science facility so we will rapidly construct on our analysis and work with the astronauts so as to add new {hardware} capabilities with out the necessity to construct and launch new services every step of the best way.”

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