• Tech
  • Gadgets

NASA Wants High-Tech Smart Glasses for Astronauts

2 minute read

You may not want Google Glass, but high-tech, interactive glasses sound pretty good to NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is developing computerized glasses that can show astronauts how to repair a ship or conduct an experiment in space, Bloomberg reports.

The space agency is joining forces with Osterhout Design Group, which makes glasses that project information on to the lenses. NASA could upload how-to information guides onto the glasses, freeing astronauts from using printed instruction manuals. Printed instruction manuals can be unwieldy in emergencies, and astronauts often must call back to base for more details. But calling is a last resort that will be increasingly difficult as ships travel farther from Earth — a call from Mars to Earth would take 20 minutes to connect.

NASA began its new approach by testing laptops strapped to astronauts’ heads, but ultimately decided to find more appropriate hardware for the task. Microchips developed for smartphones make the glasses possible.

“We knew we were ahead of the game,” says Sean Carter, a strategic partnerships manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “For us, this is huge today, and it gets even bigger tomorrow. The further we go away from earth, the more we need this.”

The glasses will be tested in an undersea lab later this year.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com