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A tape measure for the visually impaired

Architecture & Design

A new tape measure connects to an app to allow an audio read-out of the measurements.

How do you measure something when you cannot see the marks on a tape measure? This was the question faced by the developers of the Macaron. In response, they developed a measuring device that can be paired with a mobile app to provide audio measurements. The device was developed by a team from Queensland University, who were inspired by one of their own members, who is visually impaired. The team has now formed a startup called Oseyeris to develop products for the visually impaired.

The Macaron is a measuring tape with a digital read out. It is also paired to a mobile app via bluetooth. The device uses a soft and durable tape with a spring-loaded hook. After users take a measurement using the Macaron, it is sent to the app, which can then announce the precise distance. The tape uses a flip-out magnetic tip to enable precise positioning by feel, and the tip pushes down to straighten the measuring tape automatically. The measurements can be saved to the app by pressing a button. A haptic feedback vibration lets users know when the measurements have been saved.

At Springwise, we have reviewed a number of smart innovations designed to help the visually-impaired. These have included a 3D-printed tactile map and a wearable that can identify text and people. However, the Macaron is designed to enhance interaction, user experience and accuracy. The company’s long-term goal is to use universal design to eliminate the need for specialised products. They aim to create products which can be used by anyone – whether disabled or not.




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