Tech tips for zero-gravity situations


In the event you’re making plans to revel in overall weightlessness within the near-future, I’ve a couple of tech pointers that you just will have to take note.

On Jan. 31 I used to be fortunate sufficient to be invited by means of HP to be certainly one of a number of individuals of media that joined HP executives and engineers on a Zero Gravity Corp. (0-G) flight. By means of executing a parabolic flight trail (re: the aircraft flies up at a pointy attitude after which nostril dives), this Area Adventures subsidiary is in a position to create zero-gravity prerequisites very similar to the ones skilled at the International Space Station for 20-30 seconds at a time. Flights like this are required astronaut-training and likewise very amusing.

0-G says it’s facilitated such an revel in for approximately 15,000 folks. Upload scientists that experience skilled zero-gravity on identical analysis flights, astronauts, and Kate Upton, and the listing of people that’ve felt zero-gravity nonetheless isn’t very lengthy. Now that I’m privileged sufficient to be integrated in that crew, I will be able to supply destiny zero-gravity adventurers with a couple of tech pointers.

When portrait mode doesn’t follow

Accelerometers are unnecessary in zero-gravity. The sensors for your smartphones or sensible watches which are used to resolve the bodily location and orientation of your software rely on gravity to paintings correctly. From a person standpoint, this creates conduct that aren’t useful in a zero-gravity atmosphere.

The commonest instance of this on my flight – stocked filled with HP engineers and tech reporters – was once when contributors had been making an attempt to border their pictures and movies with their smartphones. Typically whilst you rotate a smartphone from portrait or vertical orientation to a horizontal or panorama orientation, an accelerometer swivels and your display screen pivots to fill all of the show. This option is repeatedly referred to as “auto-rotate” and in some instances will also be became on or off by means of a bodily transfer at the facet of the software.

After all in zero-gravity, there’s no relative vertical or horizontal place in your software. The results of this was once folks floating throughout the air, pointlessly turning their smartphones round (manipulating the orientation from their very own standpoint) and questioning why the show didn’t shift. The takeaway here’s to show off your auto-rotate characteristic in your smartphone if you happen to plan to take it with you right into a zero-gravity scenario.

(Despite the fact that I selected to observe the recommendation of the 0-G group of workers and depart my smartphone in the back of. Quite than waste time taking a selfie within the restricted time of being in zero-gravity, it’s higher to only revel in it. After all, I additionally had two GoPro cameras strapped to my frame to seize my revel in for posterity.)

Strap tech on your frame

Quite than carry a smartphone, believe strapping a GoPro digicam (or one thing identical) on your frame. To seize video of my revel in, I wore each a head-mounted digicam and a chest-mounted digicam.

The straps to be had for GoPro cameras are superb at conserving the cameras very easily in position in your frame as you soar across the hollowed-out steel tube of a 727. The instances that lock cameras in position are tricky to pry open on objective, let by myself by means of some unintended snag.

Maintaining a deal with on gadgets, or any small object, shall be a problem whilst you’re floating round weightless. Particularly whilst you’re on a parabolic flight that alternates between the extremes of zero-gravity and 1.8x gravity each and every 30 seconds or so. In the event you let your smartphone slip, it gained’t be a easy subject of bending over to scoop it up off the ground. It’ll most probably shoot to the again of the airplane.

All over my flight, I used to be seeking to observe a bottle of water thru a few parabolas. Then upon getting into zero-gravity and scrabbling across the aircraft’s ceiling in a maneuver referred to as “the hamster wheel” I misplaced observe of it and was once not able to find it for the rest of the flight.

Bolt your printer to a hard and fast floor

HP arranged our flight with 0-G so to have fun its accomplishment in production a brand new printer (an tailored Envy) that shall be used at the Global Area Station. It’s touring to house on a Area X rocket later this 12 months.

Sadly, the printer wasn’t onboard our flight for an indication. However in chatting with the engineers and researchers that had been considering its checking out, I understood one of the vital demanding situations associated with printing in zero-gravity. (And let’s face it, printing can frequently be difficult sufficient in commonplace gravity).

As a result of each and every pressure is accompanied by means of an equivalent and reverse response, printers can’t simply sit down on a table in zero-gravity. To start with, they’d waft away. 2d of all, when one thing revealed, it might reason the printer to propel itself thru house because it driven the paper thru. So bolt that printer down, as it is going to be at the ISS.

HP additionally needed to devise a option to stay the printer paper in its tray, as a substitute of permitting it to waft thru house. A easy conserving cage serves this objective, a work that HP created with a three-D printer the usage of a subject matter that mixes nylon with microscopic glass beads. This subject matter provides the tray the mix of energy and versatility that’s best for its atmosphere. A rounded design guarantees no astronaut will transform snagged on it as they waft by means of.

Finally, my actual advice is that you just will have to depart the tech in the back of for a zero-gravity flight. The urge to seize the instant is comprehensible, but it surely’s extra rewarding to only be provide and soak up the revel in. Plus, 0-G makes use of its personal cameras affixed to the airplane partitions, and an onboard skilled photographer to record the revel in.


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Updated: February 2, 2018 — 11:58 am
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