Sidekick will officially kick off on June 28 when two HoloLens units are shipped into orbit as part of the seventh official SpaceX resupply mission. However, the device is already being tested in zero gravity. Using NASA’s Weightless Wonder C9 jet, both Microsoft developers and astronauts were able to experience project Sidekick for themselves.
Once HoloLens reaches its destination, it will be used to help the research being conducted at the the International Space Station. Down the line it might even be used during exploration of Mars or other planets. The headset will be able to help astronauts in new ways, making it possible to travel to space without first mastering as many specific skills.
Project Sidekick will modify HoloLens to feature two key modes. Remote Expert Mode uses Skype to connect the wearer with a ground operator, who can then draw annotations into the astronaut’s vision in real time. Meanwhile, Procedure Mode will come with pre-installed guides for carrying out certain tasks.
“Sidekick is a prime example of an application for which we envisioned HoloLens being used,” said Alex Kipman, who’s led development of the project at Microsoft. “Unlocking new potential for astronauts and giving us all a new perspective on what is possible with holographic computing.”