It's hard to call the IT department in space. That is why NASA is experimenting with augmented reality glasses.
The glasses use similar technology to that used in Google Glass, but instead of driving directions to the nearest Dairy Queen, astronauts could get step-by-step instructions on how to fix parts on the International Space Station displayed right in front of their eyes.
NASA is teaming up with the Osterhout Design Group, which also makes glasses for workers in the military, aerospace and other industries. The company's R-6 Smart Glasses feature a gyroscope, altitude sensor, a camera and Bluetooth connectivity.
Microsoft is releasing something similar with its HoloLens, which it says "seamlessly blends high-definition holograms with your real world." The company created a video showing off what this technology could do.
The hope with the NASA/Osterhout Design Group collaboration is that both astronauts and workers on the ground will be able to use augmented reality to give them hands-free help — especially important when your workplace is the void of space.
“As electronic directions and instructions replace paper checklists and longer duration missions are considered, there is a need for tools that can meet evolving demands,” Lauri Hansen, engineering director at NASA Johnson Space Center, said in a statement.
While not mentioned by NASA, plenty of companies are using augmented reality to create video games, so hopefully the astronauts of tomorrow can play "Asteroids" while orbiting the Earth.