It’s not science fiction: a doctor’s hologram has been teleported into space to visit astronauts.
During almost two years of the pandemic, the growth of telemedicine and new ways of “reaching” people has changed and developed. In October 2021, NASA physician Dr. Josef Schmid and Dr. De La Pena and their teams were the first humans to be “holographically teleported” from Earth into space.
Using the Microsoft Hololens Kinect camera and a personal computer with Aexa’s custom software, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet had a conversation with live images of Schmid, De La Pena and their team (see photo below) located in the middle of the International Space Station.
Holographic teleportation is a type of capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted in real time. When combined with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, it allows users to see, hear and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they were actually present in the same physical space.
The system Holoportation has been in use since at least 2016 by Microsoft, but this is the first use in an environment as extreme and remote as space. “This is a completely new way of human communication over large distances “, Schmid said. “Furthermore, it is a brand new way of human exploration, in which our human entity is able to 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 is in constant motion in orbit 250 miles above the Earth, we will be there at that point, live on the space station. ”
NASA is demonstrating this new form of communication as a precursor for wider use in future missions. The plans are to use this technology with two-way communication, in which people on Earth are “holoported” into space and astronauts are put back on Earth. “We will use it for our private medical conferences, private psychiatric conferences, private family conferences and to bring personalities to the space station to visit astronauts ”.
The next step is to combine holotransport with augmented reality, to truly enable telementoring “(when a surgeon who is operating in the room has the virtual support, remotely, of a colleague) “Imagine being able to bring the best instructor or true designer of a particularly complex technology right next to you wherever you are working. Furthermore, we will combine augmented reality with touch. You can work on the device together, just like two of the best surgeons who work during an operation. This would put everyone at rest knowing that the best team is working together on a critical piece of hardware “, Schmid said.
Holotransport and similar tools could have major implications for the future of space travel. As plans for missions to Mars unfold, one obstacle to overcome will be the communication delays present on the journey to and from Mars. A delay of up to 20 minutes each way will present a unique challenge for communication whether through simple radio transmissions, video streams or new methods such as Holoportation. Communication is essential, both for medical or mission support reasons, and to stay in touch with family members.
There are also direct applications here on Earth. Whether it’s in other extreme environments like Antarctica, offshore oil rigs, or military operational locations, this type of technology can help people in such situations communicate, bringing people together regardless of distance or environmental challenges.
Source: Il Blog di Beppe Grillo by beppegrillo.it.
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