In what might be the ultimate telemedicine use case, NASA is implementing holoportation to conduct telemedicine in space. Everything you might imagine from a futuristic show is happening onboard the International Space Station. Doctors are holoported to space for doctor patient consultation. NASA describes this as the “first holoportation handshake from Earth in space.”
As you can imagine being in space limits one’s ability to do many things. Luxury’s such as meeting in person with a doctor are not possible or a realistic option. After the pandemic and a crash course on telemedicine NASA felt this was the perfect time to implement this concept to keep astronauts healthy. The results proved that if we can use telemedicine in space there is not a scenario where this new concept can be used.
How was this achieved? NASA used Microsoft’s HoloLens Kinect camera and a custom software from Aexa, to create a two-way feed where doctors would be projected as a 3D model on the International Space Station. This allows doctors to do everything you like they were there in person such as “see, hear, and interact with remote participants in 3D.”
Telemedicine is just the beginning of NASA plan for holoportation. Ideas and proof of concepts are already under way for things such as a virtual tour of the space station to educate the public on what it is like to live in space and the International Space Station. Another use case is to bring subject matter experts onboard to connect, collaborate, and diagnose issues like they are there in person. NASA is already implmenting and testing out this type of use case. Check out our past blog article to learn more.
While in use this solution is not perfect. One key factor to point out is communication delays and connection issues that affect the live feed. This is not just a holoportation issue but a communication problem that affects audio and video feed. Aside from that this is a crucial tool of communication for in space.