Researchers from NASA and Lockheed Martin have tested software for a robotic extension device that dramatically improves astronauts' ability to perform remote tasks under adverse conditions on the International Space Station (ISS). The method was developed for use with the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, which works in conjunction with the current Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS).
Robotic devices on the ISS make it possible for astronauts to perform tasks without leaving the vehicle. Manipulating these devices is challenging, particularly in bright sunlight and deep darkness. Augmented reality techniques were used to create a graphical informational overlay that can be used in simulations of robotic installation tasks to improve operator performance.
The tasks are accomplished by viewing the scene of the installation through a camera and manipulating robotic arms. The researchers used enhanced live video with dynamic overlay information superimposed on features in the operators' field of view to guide them regarding the direction of motion of the robotic arm, the type of motion, and the correct position for installation.