To safely navigate the Curiosity rover across the surface of Mars, over 120 million miles away, planners at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, rely on 3D images of the surrounding terrain snapped by the rover’s cameras and relayed back to Earth. Using gaming computers with powerful GPUs that were repurposed for tasks other than playing Fortnite, JPL scientists rely on special goggles with flickering electronic shutters that allow them to experience and explore these images of the Martian surface and its unique terrain in genuine 3D. This, in turn, makes it easier to plan the rover’s movements and missions to reduce the risk of it getting stuck, and it improves the accuracy of targeting the rover’s robotic arm and probes.
Question: What kind of hardware are we talking about here exactly? Are any parts NASA-built or at least modified, or is the system strictly a COTS gaming kit? How long have these been in use reviewing dual-camera data from rovers?