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Kinect Weighs Astronauts Just by Looking at Them

Carmelo Velardo

Eurecom computer scientist Carmelo Velardo says the Kinect gaming sensor could be used to monitor the weight of astronauts in space.

Credit: Carmelo Velardo

A body-tracking camera system built into Microsoft's Kinect gaming sensor could be used to monitor the weight of astronauts in space, says Eurecom computer scientist Carmelo Velardo.

Traditional scales do not work in orbit, and the current system is bulky and requires a lot of power. Kinect's depth-sensing ability has enabled Velardo and colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology's Center for Human Space Robotics to create a three-dimensional model of an astronaut.

They then ran their calculations using a statistical model that links weight to body measurements based on a database of 28,000 people. The estimates are 97 percent accurate, and are comparable to the current method used on board the International Space Station.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John Charles believes a combined system might be more beneficial because the existing device measure mass while the Kinect measures body volume, and Velardo agrees. Velardo plans to test the Kinect system aboard a parabolic aircraft flight that simulates the microgravity found in orbit, and present the research at January's Emerging Signal Processing Applications conference in Las Vegas.

From New Scientist
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