First off, I would tell you right of the bat that this is not going to be one of those articles where you are going to be bored out of your mind. Yes, it is going to be informative and there is going to be some history here and some general information there. But I am going to do my best to keep you interested and to make you see that even an instrument as simple as a digital tape measure can be exciting to learn about. First of we will be discussing the origins of the digital tape measure and how amazing it is that it rose from humble beginnings.
The origins of the digital tape measure can be seen in the simples of objects or things. I know that you might be wondering what I am blabbering about. Of course, the origin is the human body. You have heard, or in this case read, it right. The human body is the first basis of measurement, depending on the body part used. There are a lot of examples like the human foot during ancient times in Egypt was the first “foot.” Another nifty example is the length from the tip of your right middle finger to your left middle finger when stretched from side to side is your height. Another is when you extend your index finger, the length of the tip of your index finger to the first demarcation line that signifies the first joint of that finger is roughly an inch. Though it is quite debatable as some people believe that the thumb is roughly an inch in length, thus the coining of the term “the rule of thumb”, with this being said it actually depends on the person doing the measuring. One more fascinating example is the measurement from the anterior aspect of your forearm. Measure the length from your wrist joint to your elbow and voila, you have got your foot size. Can’t see to find out if a pair of pants or an undergarments like a brief or panty (You definitely cannot bring this to the fitting room) will fit you? An easy solution is to wrap it around your neck, if you can make both ends meet then you are sure that the pair you are going to buy will absolutely fit you. Just make sure that it fits snuggly or else you would find yourself pulling your pants up throughout the day.
Fast forward to the next part of our history lesson. I would assume that ancient civilizations were content with this process of measurement using body parts. But as humans evolved and their ingenuity developed, they learned to use objects to measure. Something that is as simple as a stick was the first recorded tool for measuring objects. During these times, evolution and developments with science and art has surpassed early thinkers and now we move on to the next phase of our lesson. And that is the invention of wooden and steel rulers. We basically know how this works and a lot of types have been made. A few examples would be a typical foot long ruler, a yard stick, a vernier caliper, and so on and so forth. The differences between these examples are the unit of measurement that they use and the length that they can and are intended to measure. Next on the list is something close to our star for this article. And that is the Tape Measure. It, basically, has the same structure and the same use and, well, almost the same everything except for a few things. One notable difference is that it does not have a digital interface in which one could see the exact measurement of the object that one is quantifying.
A non – digitized tape measure does the same thing as one that is digitized. It definitely costs a lot less as it does not run on batteries. It is also as durable and as light weight as one that is electronically fitted with a digital display. So, if it does have basically all the essential parts, why do we have to move on to a Digital Tape Measure? One answer…Human Error.
There is something about human error, and that is sometimes it is unavoidable. A tired mind, a spent body, a strained eye, a sleepy head are just some reasons why sometimes measurements can go off from one inch to a foot. These errors are dismissible if one is doing the measuring because one is planning to put in a 4 foot drawer in a space that is 6 feet wide. It does not matter because even if the drawer measured 5 feet, it would still fit the space that it is provided for. But that is not the situation where one is might have a job as an engineer and detailed measurements are needed to safely calibrate the structure of a building that is being erected. The time at which the building will be under the name of the engineer is twenty years. Imagine if you are the engineer and you missed your calculation by a foot, and at the 19th year from when your building was erected, an earthquake struck your city and the building collapsed. You will be held responsible and accountable for everything inside the building including human lives.
But that is just a very morbid situation. Let us try to keep this article light and a bit fun. Now what are the advantages of a digital tape measure? It is still a light weight portable measuring device that, when turned on, will give accurate measurements. Some designs will even give fractional measurements when you are trying to measure something perfectly. The only disadvantage is that it requires batteries which would be an additional cost. But with precise measurements, I would pay for batteries. Another would be that since it is an electrically powered machine, it is bound to conk out. But by the time the digital tape measure dies on you, you would have used it and would have gotten your money’s worth.