NASA Testing Oculus Rift to Keep Astronauts Sane in Space
Peter Donnell / 5 years ago
The Holodeck technology that features in the StarTrek franchise is still a little out of our technological reach, but the idea of using VR technology to keep astronauts sane whilst on long space missions is not. With technologies such as the Oculus Rift VR headset now pushing the boundaries of accessible VR technology, many industries are taking note of its capabilities; including NASA.
It could take seven months travel to get to Mars, in that time it’s likely that a few crossword puzzles and an Android tablet are likely to wear a little thin in terms of entertainment. NASA are investing in Oculus Rift based research to improve technologies that could keep astronauts sane on these longer missions.
A team of scientists at the University of Dartmouth’s Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation lab (DALI) has been working on such technologies since 2001. The team was recently granted $.16 million by NASA to help create virtual environments, as well as digital therapists to help de-stress deep space travelers. The team is using technologies to provide sights, sounds and smells that can trick the brain to make users feel like their in a range of locations, such as somewhere calm and beautiful to help them de-stress.
The technology will be put to test on an eight month-long physical simulation of a mission to mars. If it proves successful it could make its way into future space missions and their research could have a positive impact on the VR market.
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