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The world’s smartest tape measure

This innovative product is guaranteed to be something that you never knew you wanted, at least that’s what I thought after learning about Bagel—a one-of-a-kind digital tape measure (not the bread). Rolled-up plastic measuring tapes and their self-retracting counterparts may well be on the way out as we lean more and more into IoT, or the Internet of Things. The goal is to build towards creating a network of physical devices, vehicles, structures, and other items embedded with electronics, software, and a variety of sensors and actuators. These objects would then be able to collect and exchange data to form significantly efficient systems. The guys at Bagel Labs (a young tech start-up from South Korea) had it down to the current IoT initiative when they developed their very own smart tape measure, complete with a functioning smartphone app.1

“Despite the various uses for a tape measure,” it says on their Kickstarter page, “the way we measure size has remained the same for more than a century. It’s about time that we stop trying so hard to read tiny numbers and markings on tape measures. It’s time to innovate the way we measure size.”

Bagel combines these measuring needs into one robust tool with loads of nifty features that include selectable units and a digital display. It also has three measuring modes to choose from; first is the String Mode—it can be used to measure lengths of up to 10 feet like a traditional tape measure, but the string’s flexibility also allows the measurement of curved objects and different body types. The string itself is capable of withstanding 112lbs of force, in no small part due to its Dyneemafiber (a highstrength synthetic material trademarked as the world’s strongest fiber). Gone too are those metal tape edges that could cut your fingers while retracting.

Next is the Wheel Mode—recommended for measuring with only one hand. It works by rolling the Bagel’s tiny protruding wheel on a given surface (flat or curved) for up to 33 feet.

Lastly, we have the Remote Mode—excellent for measuring far distances and areas that are difficult to reach. One would simply need to point the laser at your target spot, and Bagel’s ultrasonic sensor will tell you how far away they are. The limit, according to initial reports, is a little over 16ft.

Bagel also has a 32Mb internal memory that can store up to 100 measurements with corresponding voice memos you can record. The logs are viewable on the digital display. And once you have reached the limit, you can easily transfer the data via Bluetooth onto your smartphone and view them thru a dedicated mobile app (available free for iOS and Android devices). It can graph your measurement history and export the data in CSV format to your computer.

Up next is Bagel’s battery life. Not only is it easily rechargeable thru any micro USB cable, it can last up to 24 hours and averages at 8 hours of constant use. And on the subject of the product’s durability, Bagel’s casing was made from polycarbonate. To give everyone a perspective of how impact resistant that is, a video online shows that the digital tape measure was able to withstand being run over by a car and dropped from 12ft on solid cement.

Afraid Bagel’s digital measurements won’t be as accurate? Fear not, Bagel Labs assures us that the sensors used were specially developed for the product and are backed by six patents. The error for all three modes is expected to be within 0.5% at room temperature conditions. The team continues to work hard on their firmware and would be providing updates to lower error margins and implement accuracy improvements.

As of this writing, their on-going Kickstarter had raised $859,325—way more than their $30,000 stretch goal. It is currently priced at $69 for early orders (Super Early and Very early rates had already passed). The target mass market price is planned to be at $89, a little too expensive for the average Juan. But nonetheless, upwards of 7,000 backers (and counting) from around the world had already given their support; the product is just too promising to pass up.