Design of an Augmented Reality User Interface for Lunar Extravehicular Activity Operations



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (ERAU S.U.I.T. Lab) has developed an augmented reality (AR) heads up display for lunar astronauts as part of the 2021 and 2022 NASA SUITS challenge. This system, called the Augmented Lunar Exploration and Extravehicular Interface (ALEXEI) aims to support lunar EVA operations by providing astronauts with critical, procedural, navigational, and scientific information in an innovative and novel fashion. As NASA prepares for the return to the lunar surface with the Artemis missions, they have identified a spacesuit user interface as a current technology gap. The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) is NASA's next generation lunar spacesuit and is being developed with the future of heads up displays in mind. The student team from the ERAU S.U.I.T. Lab has designed ALEXEI with lunar EVA operations and astronaut performance at the center of design. The system runs on the Magic Leap One AR headset, and uses a tactile controller combined with head-tracking for input control. ALEXEI organizes EVA information into screens located on the periphery of the user and separates the major elements of EVA into separate applications. These applications include Vitals, Tasks, Navigation, Science, Settings, Telemetry Stream, and Communication. The features provided by these applications satisfy the requirements of the NASA SUITS challenge and aim to provide novel solutions for displaying useful EVA information to lunar astronauts. The ALEXEI system underwent limited human in the loop at NASA's Johnson Space Center. EVA subject matter experts tested and evaluated ALEXEI and provided largely positive feedback. Standout features included the multiple navigational aids, user preference considerations, and tactile control input system. The overall ALEXEI framework has been validated as a concept and is a starting point for continued development to maximize situational awareness on future lunar EVAs.


Michael Fornito, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Nicholas Lopac, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Graydon Russell, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Joseph Demartini, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Riley Flanagan, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Lea Miller, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
Miranda Young, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
ICES407: Extravehicular Activity: Emerging Space Suit Technologies
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


Spacesuit, Spacesuit user interface, Augmented Reality, AR headset, Heads up display, Extravehicular Interface, EVA, Magic Leap One Headset, NASA SUITS Challenge, Lunar Exploration