The idea is that these smart glasses could feature augmented reality technology which could help overlay information, guides, checklists, and more to astronauts in situations where their hands might be full or otherwise occupied. This would allow them to follow directions as well which is an improvement over the current system which still relies on printed instruction manuals.
While printed instructions do have their use, the idea is that during an emergency, instructions can be displayed on these smart glasses thus allowing astronauts to react faster. In fact during some emergencies, phone calls are made back to base which would essentially be the same as having the instructions overlaid on your glasses.
The NASA engineering team is working to integrate software into these smart glasses and later this year, they will test them out in an undersea lab which is meant to mimic the effects of being in space. According to Sean Carter, a strategic partnerships manager at NASA, “By the fall, we will have astronaut and crew feedback. It’s our goal to approach the programs shortly thereafter. I don’t know that the crew will let us wait that long.”