NASA announced this week that it is developing a pair of augmented reality glasses. The agency joins a number of companies looking to use the technology in the same way, including Google. Unlike its potential competitors, the agency will not be developing these glasses for a commercial market. Instead, the glasses will be available to pilots and those in the aviation industry. They are being designed to prevent the most dangerous hazards pilots face when landing and taking to the air.
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Fog is a very common and significant threat in the world of aviation. When planes are in the air, they have little to deal with in the terms of hazards. Most planes fly high enough to avoid any kind of hazard that could come from the ground, but they must still land and take off. Fog can obscure visibility to the point where flights are delayed, if not canceling them indefinitely. As such, NASA has taken the task of designing glasses that will help pilots cut through the fog, no matter how thick it may be.
The glasses use augmented reality to paint an accurate, digital display of the landscape over the real world environment. This display would allow pilots to see their way in situations that would otherwise make them blind. NASA claims that fog and similar environmental phenomena are a very dangerous but often ignored hazard in aviation. As such, the agency wants to eliminate the problem and work to keep pilots and passengers safe.