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Kinect sensor wants to guess astronauts' weight, tell them to hit the space gym

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How do you weigh yourself when there's no gravity keeping you down? Well, you can calculate your mass by sitting on an oscillating spring and comparing its standing frequency to your riding frequency (NASA's current method), or you could rig up a Kinect sensor to tell you when you're getting fat. Carmelo Velardo, a Eurocom computer scientist in Alphes-Maritimes, France, is developing the latter option. Working with colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology's Center for Human Space Robotics, Velardo paired the Kinect sensor's 3D modeling digs with a database of weight to body measurements of 28,000 people -- the resulting system can guess your weight with a 97 percent accuracy.

NASA scientist John Charles notes that while the rig works well on the ground, it might hit some snags in space. Microgravity can shift water around in an astronaut's body, changing their density and potentially throwing off the Kinect setup's readings. Still, Charles says the technique "appears feasible," and suggests pairing it with the existing weight measurement tools might "provide insights into changes in body density that might be illuminating." Velardo hopes to test the system in parabolic flight soon. If he succeeds, not even outer space will protect us from the shameful judgment of video game peripherals. Now if you'll excuse us, we have some squat-thrusts to get to.

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