Instead of relying on thousand-page manuals to assemble the new crew capsule Orion, Lockheed Martin is now using Microsoft's HoloLens headsets to build the spacecraft faster. Lockheed Martin employees currently use the augmented reality headsets to check directions or learn a task and Lockheed Martin will look to expand the use of AR after testing showed technicians needed far less time to understand, perform or get familiar with a new task when using the headsets. The results are so promising that the company is expanding its ambitions to one day using AR in space to help astronauts maintain spacecrafts.
Lockheed Martin's head of emerging technology, Shelly Peterson, explained "What we want astronauts to be able to do is have maintenance capability that’s much more intuitive than going through text or drawing content."
Immediate next steps are to increase the devices' ease of use and wearability so that employees can begin to wear them for longer periods of time. Another hurdle that will need to be tackled is how easily content for the headset is created. Lockheed Martin however sees these obstacles as quickly surmountable. In fact, Brian O'Connor, vice president of manufacturing at Lockheed Martin, explained that "If you were to look five years down the road, I don’t think you will find an efficient manufacturing operation that doesn’t have this type of augmented reality to assist the operators."
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