UH lab using mixed reality to optimize designs for the Moon and Mars
University of Houston researchers and students are bringing multiple realities together to help improve the design process for crewed space missions.
Helmed by Vittorio Netti, a researcher for UH and a space architect, the university has launched an XR Lab within the University of Houston architecture building. The lab allows researchers to combine mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) to "blend the physical and digital worlds" to give designers a better understanding of life in space, according to a release from UH.
In the lab researchers can wear MY space suits and goggles, take a VR space walk, or feel what it's like to float to the International Space Station with the help of XR and a crane.
The area in which the researchers conduct this work is known as the "cage" and was developed during a six-month research and design study of lunar surface architecture sponsored by Boeing, which aimed to learn more about the design of a lunar terrain vehicle and a small lunar habitat.
The work is part of UH's Sasakawa International Center of Space Architecture (SICSA), which is led by Olga Bannova, a research associate professor and director of the space architecture graduate program at UH.
She says work like this will drastically cut down research and development time when designing space structures.
“These technologies should be harnessed to mitigate the dependency on physical prototyping of assets and help optimize the design process, drastically reducing research-and-development time and providing a higher level of immersion,” Bannova said in a statement.
Today the research team is shifting its focus on designing for a Mars landing. In the future, they aim to demonstrate and test the system for habitats designed for both lunar and Martian surfaces. They are also working with Boeing to test designs in microgravity, or zero gravity, which exists inside the International Space Station.
Mixed Reality Raising the Bar for Space Architecture on the Moon and MarsStep into this 'Cage' at the University of Houston where physical and digital worlds are merged, allowing students to see and ...
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