NASA sends a hologram of a doctor to the International Space Station

NASA recently reported that a doctor was dispatched to the International Space Station as a hologram for a virtual 3D telemedicine consultation.

Dr. Josef Schmid and his team were holoported in October of last year utilizing a Microsoft Hololens Kinect camera and bespoke software Aexa. “The first holoportation handshake from Earth in space,” NASA said.

The term holoportation is derived from the transportation and hologram, and it denotes a lifelike visual and aural connection.

Dr. Schmid, an industrial partner at AEXA Aerospace and the CEO of the company, Fernando De La Pena Llaca, had a virtual 3D doctor’s visit with Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut on the International Space Station. Both the doctor and Pesquet could see, hear, and interact as if they were in the same room in real life with the holoLense.

“This is completely new manner of human communication across vast distances,” Schmid explains. “Furthermore, it is a brand-new way of human exploration, where our human entity is able to travel off the planet. Our physical body is not there, but our human entity absolutely is there. It doesn’t matter that the space station is traveling 17,500 mph and in constant motion in orbit 250 miles above Earth, the astronaut can come back three minutes or three weeks later and with the system running, we will be there in that spot, live on the space station.”

NASA is showing and developing this novel mode of communication in preparation for future missions. They’re trying to figure out how to let people from Earth visit the ISS and then holoport the astronauts back to Earth. The space agency wants to take it a step further by combining this technology with augmented reality to enable Tele-mentoring.