Thursday, December 26, 2013

Architecture Students Play Wii in Zero-G for NASA Research project

A group of architecture students visited Ellington Field at the Johnson Space Center in Houston this November to participate in NASA's 2013 Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP) Education Flight Program. NASA selected the ENV students (Martin Saet, Garrett Sanne,Brice Colton, Andrew Cartwright, and Brianna Wiley) for their proposal “Boredom in Space: Experimental Application of Remote Sensor Video Gaming in Micro Gravity.” The research proposal frames the need for the experiment as follows: “As human spaceflight demonstrates increasing possibilities for long-duration or deep-space missions, one factor that we must consider is the mental health of the crew. Living and working within a small environment for a period of several months is psychologically taxing, and may lead to crew discomfort and sub-optimal mission performance. The purpose of Boredom in Space: Experimental Application of Remote Sensor Video Gaming in Micro Gravity is to assess the feasibility of using popular video gaming products with intuitive, motion-based input devices (e.g. the Nintendo Wii) to provide future astronauts with a means of recreation.”  Before the trip, the students developed their own experiment and crafted the equipment for use in the zero-gravity flight. The trip to Houston included such highlights as a VIP tour of the Johnson Space Center and, of course, the zero-gravity flight—all made possible by crowd-sourced funding from GoFundMe and additional financial support by NASA, ENV, and the National Space Grant Foundation.