Development of an Augmented Reality System for Human Space Operations

Carlos Pinedo, Jordan Dixon, Christine Chang, Donna Auguste, Mckenna Brewer, Cassidy Jensen, Chris Hill, Devin Desilva, Amanda N. Jones, Allison P. Anderson, James S. Voss


In this work we develop an augmented reality heads up display for astronaut use during human space operations. This work takes advantage of recent advances in commercial heads-up-display technology to simulate information delivery to the astronaut. The primary design objectives were to increase situation awareness (SA), provide timely information to the user and supporting personnel, and facilitate communication among all system elements (user, ground control, and intravehicular astronauts). The design includes a visual interface that provides on-demand information in both egocentric (fixed to the user) and exocentric (fixed to the environment) perspectives. The information includes spacesuit informatics, checklist procedures, communication information, and basic navigation. The design also includes an audio interface that receives verbal commands from the user and provides auditory feedback and information. A novel method of interacting with the augmented reality system was explored: electromyography. Electromyography receives electrical signal output from muscle groups on the user’s body and is able to map those as specific inputs to the augmented reality system. In this way, the user’s hands and voice are free to complete other tasks as necessary, while still maintaining a mode of communication with and control of the device. To aid in communication among all elements, remote display control via telestration (the ability of a remote user, such as ground control or another astronaut, to draw over a still or video image) was included. This provided a means of visual communication to facilitate task completion, aid in emergency situations, and highlight any anomalies thereby increasing user situation awareness and decreasing workload. Additional capability was provided for object-tool recognition and basic navigation assistance. Preliminary testing highlighted the potential benefits of the following critical design elements: minimalistic visual display, redundancy of interaction through modalities, and continuity between internal and external display elements.