NASA Picks ODG Smart Glasses for Its Astronauts

A new prototype of ODG’s smart glasses, built on a virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) platform, was chosen by NASA as the most suitable candidate for the next generation of wearables in space exploration activities.

These Android-based glasses, developed by the Osterhout Design Group, a San Francisco based company with a history of successful high technology ventures, have been chosen over many strong competitors as the most suitable platform for integration of NASA-developed software applications that would allow astronauts access to hi-tech computing and visualization systems deployed in space.

It took ODG six years and $60 million to develop the technology that can be equally useful to the military, industry and consumer markets. At this year’s CES the company presented their product as something that falls between Google Glass and Oculus Rift. Glasses are packed with a ton of advanced tech that could make them a “hands-free computer of tomorrow”, as described on ODG’s official page.

Before making their final decision, NASA was evaluating candidates for their wearable computer platforms for a year, and concluded that ODG’s solution has what it takes to guide astronauts through their in-flight and maintenance activities. According to Sean Carter, who leads NASA’s division responsible for the development and testing of intelligent, robotic and simulation systems, ODG glasses’ capabilities, including their processing speed and sensor package, were beyond everything they have previously seen.

Thanks to positioning sensors, the glasses can track your position, your viewpoint and your movements. Their AR software enables a 3-D overlay on the equipment being used, Telepresence and other features comparable to touchscreen tablets. ODG glasses weigh just five ounces and provide a high level of autonomy to the wearer, since they can be charged on the go, via portable battery.

Lauri Hansen, engineering director at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, said,” ODG‘s technology provides an opportunity to increase space mission efficiencies and we are pleased to explore its potential in human spaceflight while also advancing its use here on earth.”