MIT's 'Orbit Weaver' turns astronauts into spiders

It’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of videos of astronauts doing stunts inside the International Space Station, the only permanent human habitat where a lack of gravity is the rule rather than the exception. Here’s a video of astronauts doing backflips. Here’s one of them eating candy corn. Here they are making water bubbles.

It all looks like fun and games until you consider how hard it would be just to move from point A to point B in a zero G environment. According to British astronaut Tim Peake, this is mostly accomplished by pushing off the walls or crawling with the help of handrails. In the narrow confines of the Space Station this works well enough, but in a larger craft it may be more difficult to control the direction of an astronaut’s motion with precision.

To tackle this problem, Xin Liu, the arts curator at the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, developed a handheld device called Orbit Weaver, which allows a person experiencing microgravity to pull themselves toward a desired area.

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