Hyper-realistic Elastically Computed Topologies in Adaptive Reality Environments (HECTARE) enables detailed terrains at planetary-scale by prioritizing the storage, cache, and retrieval of underlying large-scale, land-form data and generating realistic and interactive surface detail in real-time. This terrain system acts as the backdrop for a scene in which specific geological features, assets, and events can be integrated. To navigate this large-scale terrain while immersed in a conference-room-scale, physical environment, multiple, redirected walking techniques are being explored with particular attention to algorithms that solve for more than one person in the physical space, who are not in aligned virtual spaces. For Phase I, the simulation environment will be used as a testbed for assessing the impact of these redirected walking techniques as well as assessing many other potential capabilities of the simulation environment. Research and development in this simulation environment will include the topics of low-gravity physics, precision of tracking, including when objects are occluded, the realism of avatars, and interactivity of detailed models. In addition to the virtual simulation environment, we will be researching and developing solutions for mixed-reality interfaces that support the handling of tools, interaction with large assets (e.g. habitat), and dynamic walkable terrain through a combination of swarm robotics, props, and haptic gloves. Novel Human-Computer Interfaces (HCI) will be core to the development of this emerging technology as we work at the interface between data-rich, complex digital environments in the virtual world and the complex real-world humans and their physical assets. We anticipate validation of the proposed innovations and technology solutions at TRL-3, by the end of Phase I.
Mixed-reality, simulation environments can provide more effective and efficient training tools, and transition to operational infrastructure during live missions. These simulation environments can be applied to the preparation for missions to the Moon and Mars as a training tool for astronauts, a testbed for engineers, a simulation space for mission planners, and a communications medium for public outreach. Real-time terrain models have robotic applications. Phase II physiological digital-twins have application in the Human Research Program.
Hyperrealistic simulations are applicable in most industries, particularly those where the work environments and assets are not accessible or pose safety risks. Detailed, large-scale environments have applications in disaster response and process operations facilities. Swarm robotics apply to factory automation. Human digital-twins have applications in medical and retail.