Innovation is sometimes all talk and no action. What actually gets engineers inventing and creating novel solutions to everyday problems? Handsome rewards, of course. The James Dyson Award is an international design competition that ‘celebrates, encourages and inspires the designers of new problem-solving ideas.'

A curious advent of engineering design has already won a team of engineers the Australian Dyson Award. They are now in the running to win the international James Dyson Award. These engineers managed to reinvent the tape measure, to showcase one defining characteristic: its accessibility to the visually impaired.

They are calling it the Macaron. The tape measure interfaces with a smartphone app that utilizes Bluetooth and audio feedback to assist with the measuring process.

Source: James Dyson Award | Twitter

The engineers explained that the tape measures accurately, records and stores your measurements. Inbuilt audio then reads them out.

The four engineers behind the design are Jake Dean, Yuma Decaux, Woo Sung Jung and Weng Hou Chan from the Queensland University of Technology. Team member Yuma Decaux is blind and served as their inspiration to invent the tape measure.

"Yuma would come in to the servo a lot and we'd talk," said Jake Dean.

"He wanted to be able to renovate his house but specialized talking tape measures on the market were expensive, and couldn't find anything that suited what he wanted to do."

In 2012, it was estimated that there were 285 million visually impaired people in the world. New technology, or novel applications of technology, could be used to improve their lives. The engineers believe that the work they are doing under their startup, OSeyeris, will help visually impaired people find employment in industries they otherwise would have never been eligible for.

"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," said Dean.

"Our team is so excited to be recognized for this year's James Dyson Award and can't wait to see what the future holds for the device."

The Macaron may just become the tape measure of choice for everyone.


Works Cited

Award, James Dyson. “James Dyson Award (@JamesDysonAward).” Twitter, Twitter, 18 Oct. 2018, twitter.com/jamesdysonaward?lang=en.

QUT. “Student Digital Smart Tech Measures Up.” QUT, QUT, 7 Oct. 2018, www.qut.edu.au/news?id=136528.

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