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Startup Instrumments’ 01 measuring tool measures curved surfaces

It’s an all-to-familiar home improvement dilemma: you need to measure something curved. Sure, you could painstakingly finagle a tape measure around the sloping edges of the object in question, but that’s an inherently less precise method than, say, measuring it with a ruler it bit by bit. But that painstaking work might not be necessary if Instrumments, a new startup founded by the creators of the Misfit Shine, has its way.

The startup’s 01 is a digital measurement tool that ships in the form of a pen, pencil, and stylus. (That’s no joke — the 01 does double duty as a high-tech tool and refillable writing utensil.) Instrumments describes it as a “dimensioning tool,” or a multi-sensor technology capable of recording the three-dimensional profile of curved, uneven, and inaccessibly contoured surfaces as it rolls over their surfaces. It packs a laser capable of providing the dimensions of objects at which it’s pointed, and it pairs with a smartphone via Bluetooth for additional analysis.

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It’s not the first device of its kind, to be sure, but 3D laser measurement tools have traditionally been geared toward industrial applications. Most are bulky, power-intensive, and cost thousands of dollars. “There is a dire need to rethink how we capture and use dimensions,” CEO Mladen Barbaric said in a press release. “Measuring tape, for example, hasn’t really change since its creation in the 1860s.”

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The 01’s companion mobile app for Android and iOS devices exposes the data it has collected. It shows the 01’s readout in metric or imperial measurements, and provides myriad means of adjusting the scale at which the 01 records dimensions. It can automatically log measurements, and even taps the built-in sharing tools of Android and iOS to provide a means of exporting them.

Related: Ditch that tape measure: You can make floor plans by tapping your iPhone on the walls

But the 01 doesn’t require a phone. After being calibrated to measure by grids or intervals, it will blink when it reaches equal, predefined distances. And once paired with a smartphone, it will upload any height, width, and depth data it has collected.

The 01 is available for pre-order starting today through Indiegogo, the Instrumments storefront, and select other retailers. It starts at $150, or an additional $30 for an optional leather case. The 01’s replaceable batteries, which last up to six months, are $20 for a two-pack, and Instrumments is selling non-proprietary ink and lead refills in three-packs for $16.