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DigiContractor's iPhotoMEASURE logo. Click here to visit the iPhotoMEASURE website! Your digicam as a... tape measure?
(Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 19:54 EDT)

One of the interesting things we've seen as the digicam market has matured is the opportunities that have been uncovered by developers to use digicams in non-traditional ways - some very practical, others less so.

You name it, and from "digicam as slide scanner" to "digicam as 3D capture device" and back again, we've seen it. Today, we came across a new one, courtesy of the folks at DigiContractor, Inc. - "digicam as tape measure". Chances are, you've done it yourself at some point - take a photo of an object or location, and get to wondering what the dimensions of something you captured are. Find an object in the same plane as the item you're interested in and a little math will take you from the dimensions of one object to the dimensions of the other. No, the level of accuracy won't be enough to design satellites, but it'll get you in the ballpark.

This is exactly what DigiContractor's new iPhotoMEASURE software achieves, without the head-scratching and scrumpled-up balls of paper as you hastily correct your own math. iPhotoMEASURE's product bundle includes what the company calls a "DigiTarget" - essentially a high-contrast target of known size to place in your scene before capturing a photo. Snap a photo with the camera pointed directly at the scene, and identify the DigiTarget in the software once you've got the photo in your PC. You can then quickly measure the dimensions of other items in the same plane (obviously the software has no way of understanding how far away objects in different planes are).

A nice time-saver on doing the same thing manually in photoshop, and perhaps useful if you need measurements from a distant location, and can have somebody take the pictures for you.

The process could still use some refinement, though. While trying the software ourselves, we found that while DigiContractor claims 99.5% accuracy with "any digital camera", it doesn't take account of distortions in the images. Taking DigiContractor's own sample photo and quickly correcting the barrel distortion and slight keystoning, we received measurements that were a full foot off from the stock sample image on a twenty foot measurement - ie more like 95% accurate. We'd like to see future versions offer keystoning correction, and the ability to automatically detect and correct for lens distortions with common digital camera models.

An interesting idea nonetheless, and if you don't need spot-on accuracy (or have a camera with minimal distortion and the patience to set your photo up carefully) it could be a useful alternative to ladders, tape measures and hassle. Available for Windows only, iPhotoMEASURE costs $75 as a downloadable version with a PDF printable DigiTarget, or $95 for a boxed version with erasable DigiTarget, re-stickable glue, erasable marker and quick start manual.

DigiContractor's iPhotoMEASURE software. Screenshot copyright © 2006, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Original Source Press Release:

iPhotoMEASURE(TM) Software Revolutionizes Home Remodeling Industry; New Photo Measuring Computer-Based Software Allows Contractors, Retailers and Consumers to Save Time and Money by Enabling Measurements with Any Digital Camera

LOS ANGELES -- Sept. 19, 2006 -- Tapping into the United States' $250 billion home remodeling market, DigiContractor, Inc., today announced the release of iPhotoMEASURE(TM), the industry's first Photo Measuring Tool. The patent-pending computer-based software allows users to obtain measurements of any item in digital photographs. Any digital camera becomes a precise measuring device without any alterations to the camera. The consumer can simply point, shoot, download, and open the photo with iPhotoMEASURE.

iPhotoMEASURE is easy to use. The user takes a picture of the area, room or object to be measured for remodeling, redecorating, or interior design purposes. The user then proceeds to transfer the digital photo to their computer and opens it with iPhotoMEASURE's user-friendly software. With a simple click of the mouse, any distance within the picture can be measured to within 99.5% accuracy.

"The gas money spent driving to and from estimates, as well as the time spent manually measuring a potential customer's job, is eliminated with iPhotoMEASURE," said Paul Minor, DigiContractor Founder, President and General Contractor.

With over 2.5 million Contracting Businesses operating in the U.S. bidding on an estimated 15 million remodeling jobs per year, iPhotoMEASURE streamlines a previously time-consuming, costly estimating process. The software is also great for Homeowners, as now they don't have to hassle with coordinating appointments with Contractors. Users can also go shopping at Retailers with all measurements in hand to aide their decisions.

The downloadable version of iPhotoMEASURE is available for $75.00 at http://www.iPhotoMEASURE.com.

The full software package, including erasable DigiTarget, re-stickable glue, erasable marker and quick start manual retails for $95.00 and is also available through http://www.iPhotoMeasure.com as well as through traditional distribution channels in Southern California.

About iPhotoMEASURE(TM)
Owned by DigiContractor, Inc., patent pending iPhotoMEASURE(TM) is the first photo measuring computer-based software to hit the marketplace. Founded in 2004 by Contractor and Entrepreneur Paul Minor, the Los Angeles-based company is building strategic alliances and partnerships to roll out and expand its business nationwide and internationally. For more information, please log on to http://www.iPhotoMEASURE.com

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