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It may sound more like a scene from Star Trek, but a NASA doctor and his team are the first humans to be “holoported” from Earth to space.
Flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid found himself suddenly beamed to the center of the International Space Station (ISS), where he could enjoy a two-way conversation and even share a handshake with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
Holoportation is a type of technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and sent live anywhere and in real time, said Dr. schmid.
Combined with mixed reality displays such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, users can see, hear and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they were actually in the same physical space.
It may sound more like a scene from Star Trek, but NASA physician Dr. Josef Schmid (pictured) and his team are the first humans to be “holoported” from Earth to space
dr. Schmid found himself suddenly beamed to the center of the International Space Station, where he could enjoy a two-way conversation and even share a handshake with astronaut Thomas Pesquet (pictured)
WHAT IS HOLOPORTATION?
Holoportation has been in use by Microsoft since at least 2016, but this is the first use in such an extreme and remote environment like outer space.
It is a new type of 3D recording technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and sent in real time anywhere in the world.
Combined with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, the technology allows users to see, hear and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they were actually in the same physical space.
Microsoft, which developed the technology for use with its Hololens Kinect camera, said it would “make communicating and interacting with remote users” “as natural as communicating face-to-face.”
Holoportation has been used by Microsoft since 2016, but this is the first time the technology has been deployed in such an extreme and remote environment as space.
“This is a completely new way of human communication over great distances,” said Dr. schmid.
Plus, it’s a brand new way of human exploration, where our human entity can travel off the planet. Our physical body is not there, but our human entity is absolutely there.
“It doesn’t matter that the space station is traveling at 17,500 mph and constantly orbiting the Earth, 250 miles above the Earth, the astronaut can come back three minutes or three weeks later, and when the system is spinning, we’ll be right there.” , live on the space station.’
NASA said that during nearly two years of the Covid pandemic, “the growth of telemedicine and new ways of reaching people had changed and evolved.”
It said Dr. Schmid, industry partner AEXA Aerospace CEO Fernando De La Pena Llaca, and their teams were ‘holoported’ to the ISS last October.
Using Microsoft’s Hololens Kinect camera and a computer with custom software from Aexa, European Space Agency astronaut Pesquet had a two-way conversation with live images of Dr. Schmid and De La Pena placed at the center of the ISS.
NASA said it was demonstrating this new form of communication as a precursor for more extensive use in future missions.
It plans to use it for more two-way communication, holoporting humans on Earth to space and placing astronauts back on Earth.
“We will use this for our private medical conferences, private psychiatric conferences, private family conferences, and to bring VIPs to the space station to visit astronauts,” said Dr. schmid.
The next step after that is to combine holoportation with augmented reality, to really make tele-mentoring possible.
NASA said Schmid, industry partner AEXA Aerospace CEO Fernando De La Pena Llaca, and their teams were “holoported” to the ISS last October.
Using the Microsoft Hololens Kinect camera and a computer with custom software from Aexa, European Space Agency astronaut Pesquet had a two-way conversation with live images of Dr. Schmid and De La Pena placed in the center of the ISS (photo)
“Imagine having the best instructor or the real designer of some particularly complex technology next to you, whatever you’re working on,” said Dr. schmid.
‘We will also combine augmented reality with haptics. You can work together on the device, just like two of the best surgeons who work during surgery.
“This would put everyone at ease knowing that the best team is working together on a critical piece of hardware.”
Holoportation and similar tools could be of great use for future deep space missions.
As plans take shape for missions to Mars, communication delays in traveling to and from the Red Planet will be an obstacle to overcome, NASA said.
A delay of up to 20 minutes each way presents a unique challenge to communication, whether simple radio broadcasts, video streams or new methods such as Holoportation.
Communication is critical, whether for medical or mission-support reasons, or to keep in touch with family members.
The crew must be connected to Earth and Mission Control wherever people search.
There are also direct applications here on Earth, the US space agency said.
Whether in extreme environments such as Antarctica or offshore oil platforms, this kind of technology can help people in such situations to communicate and bring people together, regardless of distance or environmental challenges.
EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 400 kilometers above the Earth.
It has been permanently manned by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Crews are mainly from the US and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and the European space agency ESA have also sent astronauts.
The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for over 20 years and has been expanded with multiple new modules added and upgrades to systems
Research aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have explored human research, space medicine, life sciences, natural sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency NASA spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners, including Europe, Russia and Japan.
So far, 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the station, including eight citizens who spent up to $50 million for their visit.
There is an ongoing debate about the station’s future after 2025, when it is believed that some of the original structure will reach the end of its life.
Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around that time, while Axiom Space, a private company, plans to send its own modules to the station for purely commercial use.
NASA, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are collaborating to build a space station in orbit around the moon, and Russia and China are working on a similar project, which would also include a surface base.