Is the hype around 'zero gravity' furniture real?

Kaitlin Ruddock
Source: Fair Go

A buzzword to sell comfy furniture and 'weightless' experiences is raising the eyebrows of both scientists and consumers.

The marketing term 'zero gravity' has been bandied around to sell a number of products, including furniture.

A couple of ads in particular caught the attention of Blenheim man John Lewis.

Commercials for the TEBO Chair and Bambillo Perfect Fit Adjustable Massage Bed show a zero gravity button and describe placing people "in a simulated weightless position, similar to an astronaut in space".

John complained to Fair Go, saying “that can't be right because there's no such thing as zero gravity on earth”.

He’s right.

Auckland University physics professor Richard Easther explains gravity is everywhere, even in space.

“If there wasn't gravity, the earth would sail off into space and the sun would be here. It's the sun's gravity that keeps us in orbit,” he told Fair Go.

Outside of a physics test, Easther says zero gravity is best understood as “floating freely, nothing's pushing you, you don't have to hold yourself up”.

Chairs and bed makers refer to a zero gravity position – which was based on a term NASA coined the 'neutral body posture'. That's the position astronauts were seen to end up in while floating around in space.

There are also claims the zero-g position is based on how astronauts are seated before lift off.

But Easther says what astronauts experience during lift off is “the absolute opposite of zero gravity” as they are subject to 3 g-forces.

"The reason they're in that position, is to stop them from feeling a huge pressure point in any one part of their body," he explains.

When it comes to using the term zero gravity, it’s not clear whether chair and bed makers are referring to equal weight distribution or not having weight at all.

Fair Go has repeatedly tried to contact Brand Developers - the marketing company of the TEBO and Bambillo brands but has not had a response.

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