The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are working together to prepare Indian astronauts for the unknowns of space. The two organizations IIT Madras and ISRO are developing virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality solutions to train the four astronauts undergoing specialized training for India’s ambitious space mission, Gaganyaan. NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission: A Joint Effort to Observe Earth’s Changes
Prof. M. Manivannan of IIT Madras’ Department of Applied Mechanics explains that the collaboration will allow the simulation of space emergencies, such as fire and medical emergencies, and the astronauts will be trained to find solutions for such situations. Both hardware and software systems will be developed, with the design and development being carried out by IIT Madras and the implementation by the CAVE consortium of over 270 Indian startups and companies in VR and haptics.
As per the MoU signed between IIT-M and ISRO, IIT Madras will utilize the advanced technologies at its newly established Experiential Technology Innovation Centre to promote research and development in the domain of extended reality. The simulations will also evaluate how the human body reacts to the harsh conditions in orbit, as existing data in this field is based on Caucasian astronauts and not Indians.
This collaboration is expected to lead to the development of space-grade biomedical devices that Indian astronauts can carry to space, helping to monitor their health and well-being during their 48-hour stay. Prof. Manivannan also mentions that the goal is to empower ISRO to develop their own AR and VR systems, as they have already trained a handful of ISRO scientists in this field.