Investigations Into a Digital Deception: Part 1

I received a new digital scale for Christmas. I can now weigh myself multiple times and day and find out fun facts like I gain about a pound after eating, my clothes weigh about five pounds, and lots of warm clothes and a backpack is almost 20 pounds.

The scale displays your weight to a tenth of a pound, but I suspected the scale wasn’t actually this accurate. I tried to test this by repeatedly weighing myself but I would always get the exact same weight, this allayed my suspicions for some time.

A few nights ago I weighed myself, was on the computer for about five minutes, and then weighed myself again. To my surprise there was over a pound of difference. Further investigation showed that the scale would remember the last weight it has displayed. If the next thing it weighs (within a few minutes) is close enough to the previous weight, it will just display the previous weight, instead of the new slightly different weight.

So I did what any normal person would do after discovering this; I stood in the bathroom for an hour at 1:00 in the morning repeatedly weighing myself holding bottles of cleaning supplies and then not holding bottles of cleaning supplies to trick the scale into displaying what it measured every time.

histogram1.jpg

As you can see at ~140 lbs the measurements have a normal distribution with a standard deviation of about 0.3 lbs. From this I would say the error on the scale is around ±0.6 lbs and yet it still displays the weight to the nearest 0.1 lb. Deceitful, just deceitful.

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