In aerodynamics the ‘frontal area’ of an object (or person) is a significant factor in the amount of aerodynamic drag. For example, a cyclist can alter their position to reduce their frontal area and reduce the amount of drag they experience (a nice article on aerodynamics applied to cycling can be found here).
We’re working on a simple program to automatically calculate the frontal area of an object using a Microsoft Kinect. The motivation for developing this was as a simple tool for assessing the frontal area of a person on a bicycle. With this information changes to position can be made to refine aerodynamic performance. We hope to be able to show you the software soon.
Bradley Wiggins and his team go to great lengths to optimise his riding position in order to minimise frontal area