How do you measure an astronaut's weight while he or she is in zero gravity? Back in 1965, someone figured out that a system could be created where an astronaut sits on a stool that has oscillating springs installed. The springs go up and down depending on the amount of mass. However this system takes up a lot of energy to run on board a space ship or the International Space Station.
Now New Scientist has posted word that a computer scientist claims to have figured out another way to measure an astronaut's weight in zero-g using Microsoft's Kinect motion gesture device. Carmelo Velardo of Eurecom in Alpes-Maritimes, along with other team members, used Kinect to create a 3D model of an astronaut.
Then the team used a database of 28,000 people to create a statistical model that links weight to body measurements. Carmelo claims that the final results are 97 percent accurate, which is what the current oscillating springs-based measurement device has.
NASA still isn't convinced, however. John Charles, the chief scientist on NASA's human research program, says that microgravity can shift water inside an astronaut's body. That variable may not be registered with the Kinect device.
While Kinect may not be on board the ISS anytime soon, Velardo and his team plan to test their theory on a airplane that will follow a parabolic course and simulate zero gravity for a few seconds. We just hope that if Kinect is used in space, astronauts also use for zero-g gaming as well.