NASA to test new augmented reality glasses for astronauts

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NASA to test new augmented reality glasses for astronauts
NASA is partnering with Osterhout Design Group to test augmented reality glasses that might supplement computers for astronauts.
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - DECEMBER 06: England captain Alastair Cook wears pair of Google Glass glasses during a charity event at R. Premadasa Stadium on December 6, 2014 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 3: Sacramento Kings dance member warms up with Google glass against the New Orleans Pelicans at Sleep Train Arena on March 3, 2014 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PASCALE MOLLARD-CHENEBENOIT A woman wears Google glass as she visits an exhibition dedicated to the work of French artist Niki de Saint Phalle at the Grand Palais in Paris on November 6, 2014. At the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition in Paris, visitors can use Google glass to listen to commentary through an earpiece as images are projected on a small virtual screen whilst looking at artworks. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET -- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION -- (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
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Attendees wearing Google Inc. Glass view new Samsung Electronics Co. Gear Live watches running the latest edition of Android software during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Google Inc. unveiled a new version of its Android software for smartphones and other devices as it battles Apple Inc. to be the foundation for mobile technology. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 09: Host Tom Bergeron tries out a pair of Google Glasses at The Television Academy's An Evening Of Laughs With 'America's Funniest Home Videos' at Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on April 9, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

NASA is working on a set of augmented reality glasses for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

The agency is partnering with Osterhout Design Group, which has been building high-tech glasses for commercial and government use for the past six years.

The group's latest models pack HD displays and cameras, Wi-Fi, GPS, positional sensors and headphones.

NASA says the goal is to replace tasks an astronaut might do with a computer - and then some. The glasses can overlay content onto the wearer's environment, everything from step-by-step instructions to live videoconferencing from ground-support teams.

And NASA believes the glasses could be a viable replacement for the old-fashioned paper checklists astronauts turn to in an emergency, especially as the agency lays plans for manned missions beyond low earth orbit.

Bloomberg quotes Sean Carter, an official at NASA's Johnson Space Center: "For us, this is huge today, and it gets even bigger tomorrow. The further we go away from earth, the more we need this."

But before the glasses would head to orbit, they'd go underwater. NASA tests potential new mission tech in its Extreme Environment Mission Operations lab, or NEEMO. It's an undersea habitat that closely resembles the environments founds on the ISS.

That's where training astronauts decided Google Glass wasn't for them: The screen was too small, and it was awkward to scroll through things quickly.

The new glasses would use astronauts' full field of view, instead of keeping all the data in the corner of their vision the way Glass does.

According to Forbes, Osterhout Design Group's glasses will enter testing at NEEMO sometime later this year.

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