Thumbs Up: Measure Up With Mini Finger-Mounted Gadget

Way back when humans first started trying to record things about their world and build things to fit into it, they used the most readily available measuring tools: their own bodies. Since then, measuring technology has come a long way: rulers, tape measures, odometers, and laser measuring tools now give us precise answers about the size and shape of things.

But maybe it’s time to use our technological capabilities to help us get back to basics. As cool as a laser measurer may be, it is nowhere near as intuitive to use as your own body. The Smart Finger measuring concept from Choi Hyung-Suk, Jung Ji-Hye and Yoo-Jin Park lets you use nothing more than your fingers to judge distances.

The two-piece device slips over your thumb and forefinger – or any two fingers, even if they’re on two different people – and measures the time it takes for a signal to beam from one piece to the other.

Rather than fiddling with a tape measure – holding down one end and trying to keep it straight – the Smart Finger lets users make simple, natural movements. Two buttons on the device let you display measurements in different units and even calculate volume.

As long as the two devices can “see” each other, they can measure virtually any distance. Whether that is a pinch – from forefinger to thumb – or an entire room between two people, this innovative measuring concept would make it super-simple to measure just about anything in the blink of an eye.

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See more in Various Gizmos or under Gadgets. March, 2011.