We all know what the Kinect is by now right? Its a peripheral built by Microsoft for use as a weight measurement system onboard the International Space Station.

What? It’s actually just a simple gaming camera attachment for the Xbox 360? I don’t think so.

What started out as a child’s toy for the 360, has quickly begun expanding in many new and ingenious ways.

For those who don’t know, Windows 8 is going to have PC-Kinect support that should make using a multimedia PC all the more interesting. Kinect is also being targeted to small businesses and even banking starting in 2012.

It isn’t going to end there though. Using 3D modeling, the Kinect could theoretically be used as a next-gen weight instrument that would take up a lot less space than current equipment that is in use.

Carmelo Velardo, a computer scientist at Eurecom in France, has fitted the gaming senor with body tracking cameras to a produce a 3D image of the astronaut.

The information is then fed into a statistical model that can link weight against body measurements through its database of 28,000 people.

The test has prove to be at least least 97% accurate, off by a bout five pounds plus or minus (they do say that the camera puts on a couple of pounds, after all).

The device has yet to see any real space testing, but Velardo hopes to at least give it a run in a microgravity simulator soon.

The problem is that when it comes to changing space technologies, things get expensive, which means that NASA and other space-related businesses are less likely to want to try experimental technologies.

This is just another proof-of-concept that the idea of sophisticated camera technologies like the Kinect, are really going to change the way we do things from space, to business, to games, and even the way we interface with computers.

On the Windows side of things, I am very interested in checking out the first Kinect-based apps for PC when they arrive.

I already have a Kinect for the Xbox 360, so I’m already half-way there.

What do others out there think about Kinect’s potential beyond gaming? Any other unique ideas you think that the Kinect could be used for that companies haven’t thought of?

Share your thoughts below and let us know what you think.

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