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1. (WO2003031910) MEASUREMENT DEVICE
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MEASUREMENT DEVICE

Technical Area
This invention relates to the area of measurement generally and in particular to the measurement of areas or volumes and the provision of calculation means to be used in association with such measurements as well as means for the transmission of related information to remote sites.

Background to the Invention
There are many instances where tradespeople and others need to measure distances, areas or volumes in order to estimate the amount of equipment necessary to carry out a particular job.

For instance painting contractors have traditionally measured wall areas by tape measure or ruler or the like or have simply estimated a given area by eye. These measurements are subsequently used to determine the amount of paint required for a particular job.

This type of approach is time consuming and can be inaccurate and, although there are measurement devices which use ranging sensors which are sonic or laser based, there is still a requirement for the requisite calculations to be carried out separately.

Outline of the Invention
It is an object of this invention to provide a hand-held device which can be used to accurately measure dimensions and use these to calculate other parameters of interest such as may be required for a specific application.

The invention is a hand held measuring device which includes a body component having sensing means adapted to measure parameters, such as distances, and to cooperate with a computing component such that measurements made are analysed using software stored on the computing component said software being specific to a particular application.

It is preferred that the measuring device have the capacity to transmit measured and calculated data to a site remote from the measurement site.

It is preferred that the body member include a base component incorporating range sensing means and that the base component be adapted to engage with a separate computing component.

It is preferred that the sensing means used be a laser or other such remote sensing means however any appropriate range measuring means may be used.

It is further preferred that the measuring device be able to be programmed to calculate any information required such as materials required to carry out a task, associated costs thereof and estimated profit associated with the task. It may be preferred that the device have software which includes look up tables.

It may also be preferred that the device of the invention be able to transmit the results of any calculations to some destination such as a remote printer or computer by means of wireless or other transmission means.

It may further be preferred that the device of the invention be either unitary or consist of separate engageable range sensing components and computing components.

In order that the invention may be more readily understood we shall describe by way of non limiting example a specific embodiment thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Fig. 1 Is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention used as a measurement tool and showing one end thereof;
Fig. 2 Is a perspective view of the invention shown in Figure 1 showing its opposing end;
Fig. 3 Shows the upper surface of the invention with the computer component lid raised;

While the concept of the invention has many applications, for convenience sake it will be discussed here in terms of its application to the painting industry.

In the embodiment of the invention shown in Figures 1-3 the measurement device or tool 10 has two main components. One of these is a base or docking station 11 , which is designed to be easily hand held, and into and over which a second component 12 is designed to engage. The base 11 has an aperture 15 through which a laser beam, or other type of sensor, can pass to effect the measuring. In addition it has on/off buttons 16 and 17 mounted at the upper rear of the docking station.

The second component 12 is a programmable computer device which can process measurements made by the laser measuring device in the station 11 these measurements being made in accordance with its software with recourse to custom designed look up tables.

This docking station 11 for the software device can act as a telecommunications device and transmit information to a preselected remote site such as a printer or computer or other such device.

In the area of contract painting a user can hold the device against the walls and easily obtain the dimensions of the areas which require painting. A look up table in the calculator then provides information concerning the amount of paint which will be required as well as associated costs and estimated profits. The device can also be provided with a sensor such as a spectrophotometer which can determine an existing colour and match it to known colour paints which are manufactured.

An example of an application of the use of the invention to painting contracting is described here. Figure 3 shows the computer device 12 with an open lid 13 displaying a screen 14. The computer device shown is hand held and uses a touch screen and as such has no keyboard provided it is only necessary to touch the screen with a stylus to execute the particular function required.

The measuring tool 10 is a high tech laser-measuring device that will measure distances of up to 30m with an accuracy of +-1.5mm and is mounted inside the docking station or body component. The invention therefore provides a small, easy-to-use hand-held laser distance meter that accurately measures distance, area and volumes with simple single key operations.

The computation required is provided by estimator software which allows the painter to provide fast and accurate quotes to customers. The estimator software is actuated typically by menu driven activity function buttons all of which contribute to the ability of a user or contractor to measure up an area and prepare quotations for clients.

Before commencing quoting the software must first be customised so that it understands how a user works in their business. To do this there is provided a contractor options screen. This tells the software how much to charge for labour, what type of paints, surfaces and substrates to use, finishes etc. This is the heart of the software and the accuracy of this information will directly affect the accuracy of the quotes and the information that the measurement device will calculate.

This section also retains the profiles of the various people that will be using the tool each with their individual customised settings. This section will allow a user to enter as many contractor profiles as necessary.

The software has a series of menus which a user operates in sequence to measure and quote for a building preferably on a room by room basis. One screen relates to the measuring of rooms and has features such as room shape, length, width and height and such like.

All that is required is that the user place the measurement device against a wall to measure the length and press the appropriate spot on the screen. The device then automatically activates the laser and an entry into the computer device is made for the length. The other parameters which are measured are entered in a similar fashion. The software also provides a series of menus for measuring more complicated room shapes and parts of rooms.

After measurements are completed and stored a menu of colours can be accessed and selections can be made.

Where the device is used in relation to painting, either by contractors or others, it permits the measurement and calculation of areas or volumes and allows the associated costs of labour and materials to be estimated accurately. It also can include the calculation of marked up profit for performing work and enables the print out of results either to a printer or a computer by means of wireless telephone.

The software will also be effective where measurements are put into it manually and not while the measurement process is occurring. Similarly the device can be used as a measurement device solely.

The concept of the invention includes both sensing means and calculation means with further transmission means although information can be stored in the device for later downloading and analysis if desired.

The invention has many applications and it is envisaged that with the provision of different software for each specific application that the concept of the invention could be applied to such diverse areas as estimating fencing requirements, airconditioning, carpentry, roofing, shelving, tiling, building and even be used for making on site insurance evaluations where the device of the invention was provided with a camera device.

Whilst we have described herein several specific embodiments of the invention it is envisaged that other embodiments of the invention will exhibit any number of and any combination of the features previously described and it is to be understood that variations and modifications in this can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.