According to an article from New Scientist, space geniuses have created a Kinect Hack that helps Astronauts stay fit and calculate their mass in zero gravity.
Apparently, being weightless is a terrible way to stay fit. In just a few weeks a strapping young Astrohero can lose up to 15 percent of their body mass in space because their muscles atrophy due to lack of use. The weightless residents spend at least two hours a day exercising to help counteract this.
Before Kinect, a complicated method with springs and stools that was invented in 1965 was the only way to reliably gauge the mass of objects in space.
Kinect’s depth-sensing ability can easily generate a 3D model of an object (Want to try generating a 3D model yourself? Check out Kinect Fun Labs gadgets Build-a-Buddy, Kinect Me, or Googly Eyes!). The science hackers then use a statistical model the links weight to a large data of body measurements to calculate the volume and weight of the object. These calculations are 97% accurate!
While this model has yet to be tested on the International Space Station, it does have some merit. Rather than determining mass, it determines volume. however, combined with the current method could yield new insights. Carmelo Velardo, the space genius that came up with this says, “The combination would provide insights into changes in body density that might be illuminating.”
Hopefully, he’ll get the opportunity to test it soon. The day Kinect gets to space will be a totally awesome one for our team. I’m sure there will be cake here on Earth to celebrate!