You know how the starship Voyager had an Emergency Medical Holographic program called Doctor? Well we’re one step closer to being able to do that in real life. Once again another concept created by “Star Trek” has been successfully engineered by the folks at NASA, who just holoported Josef Schmid, NASA flight surgeon to the International Space Station (ISS).
What’s better than the EMH program on Voyager is that this doctor is the hologram of a real living being. No programming required! Just years of medical school and rational thinking.
“This is completely new manner of human communication across vast distances. 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.”Schmid said in a statement
This should be thought of as a new type of telemedicine. Schmid was transported onto the ISS in October of last year. Speaking to astronaut Thomas Pesquet with his live image being broadcasted in the middle of the ISS. This was the first successul holoportation from Earth to space. To achieve this, NASA used the Microsoft Hololens Kinect camera and a computer loaded with custom software from Aexa.
“Holoportation is a type of capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted live anywhere in real time, Schmid said. When combined with mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, it allows users to see, hear, and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they are actually present in the same physical space. Holoportation has been in use since at least 2016 by Microsoft, but this is the first use in such an extreme and remote environment such as space,” says NASA. Holoportation has been around since 2016 but has never been tested as far as space.
“Imagine you can bring the best instructor or the actual designer of a particularly complex technology right beside you wherever you might be working on it. Furthermore, we will combine augmented reality with haptics. You can work on the device together, much like two of the best surgeons working during an operation. This would put everyone at rest knowing the best team is working together on a critical piece of hardware.”Schmid
To further understand the capabilities, NASA also says that it could be used to explore places on Earth once thought difficult to penetrate. Places like Antarctica where it would be difficult to communicate using traditional means. They can also use this in reverse where astronauts would be able to have private family meetings with their family left on Earth. That way they also won’t suffer by feeling so isolated and they may have a healthier emotional balance.