Here's a novel take on the tape measure: removing the tape. Rollova, as the name subtly suggests, is a digital measuring gizmo complete with OLED display that you roll along a surface or edge to measure its length. Its obvious strength is in measuring curved or uneven surfaces – whether you're dealing with up-and-down or side-to-side bends, or both. And it's digital, giving a read-out in your preferred units. Neat!
It looks decently put to together, what with its stainless steel body and OLED display, which apparently boasts a contrast ratio of 10,000:1, which one imagines is all the contrast one needs in a souped-up ruler. The design also uses polycarbonate plastic, and silicone rubber for the tire you roll it along.
If it has an achilles heel, it may be in measuring very straight lines unguided, since presumably the results will be only as accurate as the line you're able to trace. You have to hold a button down to measure, which probably works fine in practice but sounds like an unnecessary faff.
Here's the full spec from its creators, Hozo Design:
- Size: 2 in diameter by 0.5 in thick (5.08 x 1.25 cm)
- Battery: 2 x CR1632 button battery
- Display: 1.2 in (3.05 cm) OLED (bright blue color)
- Accuracy: Plus or minus 0.4 percent maximum tolerance
- Units: Inches (decimal), inches (fractions), centimeters (decimal)
- Range: 10 m (32.8 ft) in metric mode, 83 feet (25.30 m) in inches mode
- Material: 304 Stainless steel, polycarbonate plastic, silicone rubber
- Standby time: 18,000 hours (2 years) using both batteries (with caveats for battery brand and conditions of use)
It's interesting that the maximum range differs depending on units. We guess this is a limitation of the display, but we've asked the makers to clarify.
Rollovas come with a leather case with a choice of three colors: charcoal, chestnut and grizzly – a dark brown "vegan" non-leather leather.
It seems Hozo Design is aiming far and wide with its target audience: "professionals, hobbyists and designers" – though crafters seem like the core market. On the other hand, the less said about the marketing image of a woman rolling one across her tummy the better, quite frankly.
Clearly people see the appeal. With 16 days left, the Kickstarter campaign has reached nearly three times its US$25,000 goal. With the "super early bird" offers all taken, pledges start with a regular "early bird offer" at $49 for a Rollova, leather case and pair of batteries. At the other end of the scale you can fork out $429 for a set of 10, customized with a logo of your choice. It's refreshing to see pledges stick to the product and not offer "dinner with the creators" for x-thousand bucks, excluding travel and accommodation.
Hozo Design says the device is ready to go into mass production. The first batch of Rollovas is due to be shipped August 2018, should all go to plan. It sounds like an ambitious timeline, and the team notes that manufacturing problems or design flaws could conceivably come up.
Its makers say it's "sure to become your favorite pocket-sized ruler." Looking at my current collection, I for one am prepared to believe them, but will this eventually come to replace the good old ruler and tape measure? Sometimes – just sometimes – the old ways are the best.
There's a video below, complete with Jony Ive-esque voice-over, that shows what's what.
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