Sunday, January 01, 2012

International Object Sizing Tool

I often take pictures of objects for this blog when I'm making stuff (such as the Cansole or Home-made 7x7 display) and one constant problem is scale. It's hard for people to know what size the objects are. For example, here's a small HD video camera that I'm planning to use on GAGA-2. This shot shows the camera with its insides out:

Tiny, but how small?

To solve the problem I've created the International Object Sizing Tool that can be photographed alongside an object to give an idea of scale. It has five different ways of showing the size of the object: three common coins, a credit card and centimeter and inch scales. Here it is:

The entire thing is credit card sized (itself an international standard) and I've included the Visa logo and a fake card number and name so that you can recognize it as a credit card sized object.

There's an inches scale on the left, a centimeters scale on the top and three correctly scaled coins: a one Euro, a US quarter and a British Pound.

I made the image in OmniGraffle and printed it out and then stuck it to the back of an old credit card (actually an old airline mileage card since it wasn't embossed) that I'd sanded down.

So, how small is that HD video camera?

If you want to make your own one of these, the PDF is here.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

2 Comments:

OpenID robhague said...

Useful. I like giving an indication of the size in the text as well, but you need to take care with the units. I once submitted a paper with a photo caption along the lines of " is 70cm along each edge, with a Euro coin shown for scale." Unfortunately, I meant 70 millimetres, and one of the reviewers came back with the comment "No wonder the British rejected the Euro - the change wouldn't fit in their pockets."

11:03 AM  
Blogger Pantaz said...

Nice. Thanks for sharing this.

I typically just use a ruler, or machinist's scale alongside what I'm photographing. Your card is probably better for quick visual impact.

One odd thing -- why is the 3cm hash mark bent/angled?

6:48 PM  

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