Scientists from the US Navy have joined forces with NASA Johnson Space Center to take an Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) technology, originally designed for diving, from seabed to space.
The Diver Augmented Vision Device (DAVD) team from NSWC PCD and partners recently joined forces with NASA Johnson Space Center during NEEMO-23, the 23rd voyage of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations held at the Aquarius Reef Base underwater habitat in Key Largo.
The Aquarius Reef Base, operated by Florida International University, is the only undersea laboratory in the world located 5.4 miles off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 62 feet below the surface.
The Aquarius and its surroundings provide an ideal training and mission analog for space exploration by providing buoyancy similar to walking on the moon, or Mars.
The DAVD is a high-resolution, see-through head-up display, embedded directly inside of a Kirby Morgan-37 dive helmet.
This system provides divers with high-resolution visual displays of everything from sector sonar imagery (real-time topside view of the diver’s location and dive site), text messages, diagrams, photographs, and even augmented reality videos.
During NEEMO-23, NASA astronauts and technical personnel used the DAVD Generation 1.0 system to conduct analog training missions and determine the potential for using a similar system in their future Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) Spacesuits during space exploration missions.
Even in good visibility conditions, the DAVD system allows for hands free information and less mental strain of trying to remember topside instructions. The same benefits can be gained by astronauts as well – including better situational awareness, safety, and allowing them to be more effective in their missions,
…said Allie Williams, DAVD team lead engineer.
Outcomes and lessons learned from the NEEMO-23 missions will provide insight needed to move the system one-step closer to space, added Dennis Gallagher, DAVD team project manager.
Naval Sea Systems Command Supervisor of Salvage, and the Office of Naval Research, are co-sponsors of the DAVD project.
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