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Glassified: an intelligent ruler with embedded transparent display




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With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet, manufacturers have continued to miniaturize components so we can fit more into ever thinner devices. But that has also opened up the way for electronics to be embedded in other objects you wouldnt normally associate with needing such components.

One example of this is an experiment coming out of the Fluid Interface Group at MIT Media Lab. Its called Glassified, and embeds a transparent OLED screen into a ruler, which is then hooked up to a PC and Wacom digitizer.

What this allows is for objects to be drawn using the basic functionality of the rulerdrawing straight lines, but then additional information added to the drawing using the transparent display, digitizer, and stroke recognition by the PC. For example, drawing a triangle and then covering it with the screen automatically works out the dimensions and area and displays them as an overlay. If you create a closed shape and then add a ball and direction arrow, the ball can be seen bouncing around inside the shape starting in the direction specified.

Glassified clearly has uses for both math and physics, and if expanded upon could end up being a useful learning aid. As its just a prototype at the moment, theres exposed circuitry and a wired connection required, but a final implementation would need to embed all electronics within the actual ruler to be workable. Is that possible? Based on how much functionality that gets embedded in smartphones, I dont see why not. The final ruler may just end up being a few millimeters thicker and require charging on a regular basis.

The creator, Anirudh Sharma, has promised to post instructions on how to make your very own version of Glassified on his personal site. Once they are available it shouldnt take long for people to start improving on the design and adding functionality. Who knows, there may even be a Glassified Kickstarter appear in the near future.

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