Since it unveiled HoloLens in January, Microsoft has wanted us all to believe that its AR product can deliver an out-of-this-world experience. Now, it's proven that it's willing to go to great lengths to prove it.
In a partnership with NASA for a project called Sidekick, Microsoft is going to be sending two HoloLens units up to the International Space Station, with transit provided by SpaceX, during its seventh resupply mission to the station.
With astronauts equipped with HoloLens, NASA hopes that it will help both improve the work they're able to do, as well as make things easier for the engineers back on Earth. "The goal of Sidekick is to enable station crews with assistance when and where they need it. This new capability could reduce crew training requirements and increase the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space."
The Sidekick product will have two modes of operation. First is "Remote Expert Mode", which lets a ground engineer see what the astronaut sees in real-time, allowing them to provide guidance and draw annotations. Not surprisingly, the communication technology is being made possible with Skype. The second mode is called "Procedure Mode", and lets crew members view animated holographic illustrations that will help them interact with various objects - something that could dramatically reduce the amount of training that needs to be done on the ground.
In addition to Sidekick going to space, it'll also go underwater next month, when astronauts and engineers live in the world's only undersea research station, called Aquarius. So far, Microsoft seems to be marketing HoloLens quite well!