Integrated Display and Environmental Awareness System (IDEAS)


A wearable technology—including a head mounted display that can be used on Earth or in space—would provide visual communication and augmented reality information to its user. Operating “hands free” means engineers and technicians can call up user manuals and procedures as well as record activities and progress for safety and quality assurance.

In October 2014, a team led by Kennedy Space Center (KSC) early-career employees was awarded funding by the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) to develop a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display. The goal of this project, entitled the Integrated Display and Environmental Awareness System (IDEAS), is to enhance real-time operations by providing various means of communication and augmented reality data to field engineers here on Earth and in space.

The IDEAS device would allow users to have access to and modify critical information on a transparent, interactive display in a nonobstructed field of view without taking their eyes or hands off the work in front of them. The proposed technology would dramatically improve the user’s situational awareness, thus improving safety and efficiency. Once the technology is proven initially for ground operations, it can be transitioned for use in many other areas, ranging from laboratory research to in-space mission operations, as well as to commercial manufacturing.

This KSC team was one of four selected from across the Agency as part of STMD’s Early Career Initiative (ECI) pilot program. The program encourages creativity and innovation among early-career NASA technologists by engaging them in hands-on technology development opportunities needed for future missions.

Read more about IDEAS on page 5 of NASA’s IT Talk Magazine, January – March 2015 issue.

Project Element Manager: Kevin Kempton (

Project Manager: David Miranda (

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