In a first-ever bid to beam technology onto a whole new level, NASA successfully “holoported” a team of doctors into space to visit the astronauts living aboard the International Space Station. The miraculous feat was achieved in October 2021 when NASA flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid, AEXA Aerospace CEO Fernando De La Pena Llaca, and their teams were the first humans holoported from Earth into space.
As posted on NASA’s official website, Schmid explains holoportation as the type of capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted live anywhere in real-time. By combining these 3D models with mixed reality displays like the hololens, the technology allows the users to see, hear, and interact with remote participants as if they are actually present in the same physical space. According to NASA, holoportation has been in use since at least 2016 by Microsoft, but this is the first time that the technology has been used in an extreme environment such as space.
NASA is planning to use this technology extensively as a new form of communication and also reform it for future missions. For example, this technology can be adopted as a two-way communication where people on Earth are holoported to space and astronauts are holoported back to earth. Schmid said that this advanced technology could be used in future for private medical conferences, private psychiatric conferences, private family conferences and to bring VIPs onto the space station to visit with astronauts. The next step after that would be to combine holoportation with augmented reality, to truly enable Tele-mentoring!
There could also be direct applications of this technology on Earth. It can be used in extreme environments such as Antarctica