One of the more interesting booths I visited at CE Week earlier this month was by a company called Plott, a startup that offers very cool digital interactive measuring tools featuring augmented reality (AR) – or what they like to call extended reality (XR) – technology that interacts with an app on your smartphone in remarkable ways. This could be a game changer not only for the consumer, but for the construction, remodeling, custom integration communities as well.
See more on the very clever Plott tools…
OK, let me say this right upfront. Plott’s initial target market is the DIY customer. But it only took me about a minute to see the implications of their technology for the professional installer market as well. Good news! Matt Cultrera of Plott quietly whispered in my ear that they will be offering heavier duty, more accurate Pro versions of their tools for the professional market. Now we’re talking!
So let’s review what got me so excited. Plott offers two products – the Cubit and the Cara. These are both cleverly designed measuring tools that take a lot of the guesswork out of home projects – thanks in large part to the interplay of these devices with your smartphone via their app.
Cubit – A Measuring Tape with No Tape
We started with the Cubit, which looks kind of like a standard measuring tape…but there’s no tape. There is, however, an LCD screen on the side. Cubit has dual lasers and can measure simultaneously in two dimensions at one. It also has a precise mini measuring wheel which enables highly accurate measurement capabilities.
The idea is to help the common homeowner make complex decorating or remodeling projects easier by taking the mathematical calculations out of the equation and eliminating a lot of guesswork. Well, you don’t actually take the math out of the project, you just let Cubit do the math for much greater precision, accuracy, and ease.
Designing in the Virtual World, Installing in the Real World
You start by using your smartphone and app to take a photo of your space where you’ve planned a project…say, hanging multiple photos you’ve taken as a hobbyist. You then add precise measurements to the image on your screen either using a VR/AR measuring tool, or the lasers and measuring wheel on the Cubit. This tells the app the exact dimensions of your space. Since the Cubit is connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the measurements show up instantly on your screen.
Now you’re ready add your project – in this case, a representation of your photos – onto the walls in the image on your smartphone or tablet, which is simple thanks to the nifty, easy-to-use app. You can then experiment in the virtual domain by moving the photos around on your screen until you get the design just as you like it. Then when its time to hang your photos, you run Cubit physically on the wall and the app and Cubit will tell you exactly where to put the nails for hanging your photos in the layout you designed virtually…for success in real reality. Pretty amazing concept.
Accurate Mapping in the Great Outdoors
The Cara is a great tool for measuring outdoors. Like Cubit, you take a photo of your area and then add measurements to it by running the Cara over the ground and setting specific waypoints for specific areas.
Imagine you need to plan buried cable runs to landscape speakers in a pool area that is quite separate from the main house. Photograph where the pool is (or will be) and run the Cara to and around it setting way points for where you anticipate putting the landscape speakers. Play with the positioning of the speakers and different cable layouts in the app and when you’re set, it will help you run the cable and place speakers in exactly the way you planned it.
Cultrera tells me that Cubit is accurate to within 4mm. The Pro version – when it is available – will be even more accurate…to within 2mm.
Pricing and Availabililty
For now, Plott’s target market is people 25-45 years-old that are tech savvy and committed do-it-yourselfers (DIY).
The Cubit sells for $109 and is available now at Newegg.com, Amazon.com, and True Value Hardware. It will be available soon at Home Depot and Target.
The Cara is coming this fall and has a target MSRP of $200.
Cultrera couldn’t say just when they would be ready to market the Pro versions of these tools, but he led me to believe it would be fairly soon…perhaps later this year.
See more on Plott by visiting: www.letsplott.com.