Students roll out connected tape measure for the vision impaired
The Macaron is a clever measuring tape dreamt up by students from the Queensland University of Technology. Described as a universal smart tape measure, it was inspired by one of the team members who is vision impaired and struck some difficulties renovating his house. So the team resolved to come up with a better way of measuring things, not just for the vision impaired by for anyone looking to do so.
The end result is a sleek, small and circular tape measure that pairs with a companion mobile app over Bluetooth. The Macaron's soft and durable thread can be unraveled just like a regular measuring tape, with a spring-loaded tip on the body pressing it against a flat surface as it is pulled out. Another spring-loaded hook enables it to clip onto edges, while a small digital display presents the distance it is covering in real time.
These measured values are shared via audio instantaneously and are also saved to the connected phone with a press of a button, with haptic feedback alerting the user that it has been recorded. The app also allows the user to preset objects and distances to be measured, which can be programmed via voice commands.
"People with little to no vision need to rely heavily on specialized measuring devices, but we hope that the Macaron will become the common and everyday household product that leads to a new way of measuring, recording and thinking," says Jake Dean from the Macaron team.
The Macaron team beat out 25 competing teams to claim the Australian James Dyson Award, and earned £2,000 (US$2,570) for its trouble. It will now compete for the International James Dyson Award, along with the other Australian teams to share the podium. The first of those is the team behind an alpine survival tool called H2 Snow that converts snow into drinking water, while the other clever creation is the Indra Mosquita Zapper, an insect-zapping machine made from recycled materials.
The international winner of the James Dyson Award stands to win £30,000 (US$38,500) and will be announced on November 15. You can hear from the creators of the Macaron in the video below.
Source: James Dyson Award