Hologram Doctors Visit International Space Station
The field of telemedicine continues to grow and innovate—and its latest achievement is holoporting to space. In October 2021, NASA holoported—a term combining the words “hologram” and “teleport”—doctors from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS); the agency revealed the visit in a post in early April 2022.
The holographic health team—including NASA flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid and Aexa Aerospace CEO Fernando De La Pena Llaca—was beamed into the International Space Station, marking the first holoportation handshake from Earth in space.
While Schmid remained on Earth in a room full of cameras recording him from various angles, He met with European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Meanwhile, on the ISS, Pesquet wore a Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headset, which projected real-time 3D footage of the doctor—making it feel as if they were in the room together.
“This is completely new manner of human communication across vast distances,” Schmid said. “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,” he added.
NASA says using holoportation for telemedicine is just the beginning of its journey with the mixed reality technology, and has plans to use this type of communication for private family conferences and to bring VIPs to the ISS to visit with astronauts.
As for its next steps? NASA is ready to combine holoporting with augmented reality to “truly enable tele-mentoring,” according to its statement.
“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,” Schmid concluded. “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.”