NASA uses VR & Unreal Engine to Train Astronauts
Virtual Reality has become an option for the NASA, the technology will allow astronauts to train for maintenance in a simulated zero-gravity environment. Unreal Engine, the company that built the simulator, showed a video recently that shows exactly how it works.
Virtual Reality Simulators for NASA Astronauts
NASA very recently partnered with Oculus to create Mission:ISS, an educational Virtual Reality experience where players get to know the International Space Station. However, the training simulator that NASA is building with Unreal Engine is something quite different, and it looks like it will be using both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets.
“The setup uses cutting edge graphics and physics simulations to increase the sense of presence. The more realistic the training feels, the faster you can respond in real-world, critical situations, which could save your mission or even your life.”
Says Matthew Noyes, NASA Software Engineer.
The Virtual Reality simulator is highly realistic, it is said that it even simulates blooming. So when astronauts look up at the sky, their pupils must dilate before they can see anything, just as it happens in space.
NASA astronauts that have been aboard the ISS have tried the simulator and claim it accurately represents how it feels to be in zero gravity while handling objects. The VR training includes simulated maintenance, which allows the astronauts to use the HTC Vive control wand to grab any kind of tools or objects aboard the International Space Station. The simulation of gravity is quite immersive, it has an active response gravity offload system, which in English translates into a crane that can lift astronauts in order to simulate zero gravity.
It is reported that this realistic simulation will not be exclusive for NASA astronauts, the team behind the development seems to be working on a public version so anyone could feel the astronaut experience.
Source: Unreal Engine