Microsoft's HoloLens gets a virtual tape measure to let you get the size of anything you see

Microsoft's HoloLens is in the hands of an increasing amount of developers, and we're starting to see their experiments hit the Windows Store. One of them is HoloMeasure and while not built for entertainment it does once again demonstrate that unlike virtual reality (VR) augmented reality can be super practical.

HoloMeasure is made by Sebastian's Apps and is powered by Unity. The app is very simple to use as is just scan the room revealing the live wireframe representation of your world. By using your gaze, you can set two points with an air-tap (or using the clicker), and it instantly tabulates the exact distance between those points.

Disclaimer: HoloLens can only record video at 720P. However, I'm quite confident the May update also introduces some software video stabilization, which is why it now looks smoother. However, if you know anything about SW stabilization you will know it does this by cropping the video dynamically reducing the overall resolution. As a result, this video is not quite 720P. Please keep in mind that wearing the HoloLens is very different than what you see regarding the quality of the experience. It's a lot of processing to do holograms and record video at the same time, after all!

Additional options include an array of voice commands such as "inches" or "meters" or "Metric" and "Imperial". You can have a few measurements projected at a single time and to get rid of them, you simply blurt out "Clear."

Obviously, this could be practical when working on a project, looking for an apartment, or just doing simple house modifications where you need the distance of something. Indeed, this app won't change the world, but it is exciting to see how HoloLens could be used in situations where using a physical tape measure may not be practical (think of those astronauts!).

See HoloMeasure in the Windows Store (HoloLens only!) (opens in new tab)

More on HoloLens

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • That's pretty sweet.....
  • "Son, why is your HoloLens in the shower?"
  • Lol
  • Lol so true
  • This is where pornhub would come in handy
  • How big is he?
  • When will the Americans adopt the metric system?
  • Those are freedom numbers, so we'll do it in the year 20-and-never.
  • When is this coming to stores and how much it will cost?
  • Freedom numbers?:-) Don't mean to be rude or nitpick, but apart from your language, the imperial system is probably the greatest remaining symbol of British rule in north America. If you wanted freedom numbers, you should have adopted the (metric) system of your french revolutionary saviors.....
  • So Americans should have arbitrarily dumped an established system of measurement that worked for them just to stick it to The Man?  Are you serious?  Much like today, Americans at the time had greater problems than worrying about whether they matched the standards of people who lived halfway across the planet.  And again, we use both Metric and Imperial (usage depends on what we are trying to accomplish at the time) so I'm still not sure what your complaint is.
  • I'm not telling you to do anything. You can use whatever system you like for what I care. I'm just saying the imperial system is definitely not a symbol of American independence.
    I also find it rather ironic that every US organization that tries to do anything accurately, uses the metric system, while the rest stubbornly refuses to do the same.
  • @Remy_S, as ladydias pointed out, we use Metric where it matters for technical accuracy -- engineering and scientific measurements. But for the vast majority of people where that precision is not needed, there's no benefit to shifting from weight in pounds to mass in grams (how many people on a fixed gravity planet care about the difference between mass and weight?), distance in inches or miles, volume in gallons and oz., degrees in Fahrenheit, etc. I'm not anti-metric and am quite comfortable with metric measurements, but I see no real value to the typical American in asking them to abandon the system they instinctively know best. The near term cost would be high, and the long term savings would be minimal (maybe negligible). Plus, it would be like asking France to just accept English as their official national language, or the UK to accept the Euro for currency -- there's just an element of national pride in doing it our way. Now, why we didn't have it clear for that Climate Orbiter we sent that crashed into Mars because of a mix of some Imperial measurements and metric... well on that I'm with you. That should have been all metric, all the way.
  • No. Americans should have dumped the idiotic measurement system based on outdated Imperial concepts to adopt the Worldwide accepted, used and logical measuring system to don't play the part of the "we're so special, we use a system not even Britain uses anymore". ;)
  • When people who complain about the Imperial system shell out the billions in cash for us to change our primary system of measurement just so they don't have to use a converter. The cheaper option is for them to realize that we actually use both Metric and Imperial and get a life.
  • Soon.
  • There are the countries that use metric scale.. And there are countries that put men on the moon
  • Warren fon Brown come from Europe.
  • Yes and he sent people to the moon in America with aid from American scientists and funds. Are you seriously trying to retroactively claim credit for someone else's accomplishments just because he happened to originate from the same part of the world as you?
  • It will cost trillion $$ to migrate to metric system. Yes Trillion $$$. Every things that moves changes . Everything just standing needs changes. Think about changing every thing we touch, see, build or even break are all need to be changed. From rockets to chips to roads to schools, desks,buildings and  cashier system and point of sales systems need changes.  If most of the countries did awhile. they did not have any huge investments  or in those countries nothign existed. So shut up next time.
  • Einstein too.
  • NASA predominantly uses Metric.
  • Lol, you are missing the point.
  • And those People who put humans on the Moon uses metric ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • When they become civilized.  
  • In drug dealing (at least in Miami Vice) they have :D
  • It will cost trillion $$ to migrte to metric system. Yes Trillion $$$. Every things that moves changes . Everything just standing needs changes. Think about changing every thing we touch, see, build or even break are all need to be changed. From rockets to chips to roads to schools, desks,buildings and  cashier system and point of sales systems need changes.  If most of the countries did awhile. they did not have any huge investments  or in those countries nothign existed. So shut up next time.    
  • It would only cost billions if Americans insist on their habit of "everything must be changed overnight". Britain dumped the Imperial system gradually and it didn't cost them billions. Some people in Britain still use the Imperial system, though they're becoming a rarity. Why? Because things changed GRADUALLY. Oh and by the way...Britain had an Empire to run. Unlike the USA, who has nothing of the sort, despite its best efforts through "Freedom Bringing Invasions". ;)
  • "Educated" Americans use converters. :D
  • Buying a $3000 headset to measure a bookshelf?  Super practical!
  • I know, right? It's such a shame that's literally the only thing it does.
  • Combine the measurement functionality with an Interior Design program capability and Hololens becomes one hell of a tool.  HoloRevit perhaps?  The jitteriness needs to go though.
  • Dumbest comment of the day goes to...
  • Got a chance to live in beautiful planet but still doing **** like this?
  • Measure or not, you need to create apps for these, will you do it?
  • buying an expensive gadget of limited use never sound practical. This is just a demonstration of it's potential. When the English gave fancy clocks to the imperial throne of China. The Chinese regarded them as expensive toys and never appreciated their construction. Western Europe mastered their complicated mechanical movements. This ushered in the industrial revolution.
  • You are a consumer to the core.. you can't see the future or possibility.. all you really saw is a measurement of a bookshelf?! How old are you? I need to give you some credit because right now you sound dumb... it is better to keep quiet and appear dumb than to use thy keyboard and remove all doubt. This is a tool I know I could use now... but more importantly, these are concepts and open up to more intriguing possibilities. If you just want to game or you came here to bash the hololens because you are a fan of another company, you lost. Hololens is truly attracting companies and organizations more than consumers... Microsoft needs to keep being for business like it always was... chasing the consumer like Apple does is what makes it look bad in the eye of the consumer... hololens will be an amazing"tool" in the near future. Take care. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Cool!
  • Ten inches. Nice!
  • No mention of how accurate this is?
  • It'll be most accurate IMO. Sent from my love Lumia1320
  • It's very accurate. My doorways were spot on.
  • This is way more useful and cooler than any other AR (VR) out there.
  • You: You are wearing 45 cm. Bra
    Girl: OMG!!! how do u know?
    Posted via Hololens
  • Should come in very handy when calculating one's T.M.I...
  • @Daniel
    How accurate are these measurements? Can it accurately measure a door opening to the nearest mm. Or is more for getting the approximate size of a room?
  • It should be accurate.
    You could always scale a known measurement to calibrate the device when you walk into a room. Like a cupboard that is usually 600mm.
    After that every dimension will be spot on.
    Autodesk Recap can adequately model the entire building by combining photos you provide.
  • It has no respect for the user. You have to yell at it to make it do anything :D
  • Can't wait to have a hololens device! I wonder when will Microsoft release it
  • The end of furniture moving arguments lol - will it fit wont it.
  • Hi Dan, How Accurate is it ? How about checking screen size of one of your phone with it for a test ?
  • Just measure a ruler.
  • HoloLens is incredible. I now have two complete houses. The boring, normal house, and my AR playground! I think I may be addicted to this thing.
  • After this, a new OCD shall prevail..
  • I kinda disagree that this app won't change the world.  While it's a simple app, it's probably one of the killer apps for this platform for anyone who does home renos and decor.  You could stand in the middle of a room, and get all the required measurements in seconds (and presumably name the measurements and save them to a file, but that may be a 2.0 feature). The logical next step for this kind of app (or perhaps it warrants an app of its own) is to specify rectangles / blocks of an exact size, and lay them out in the environment.  This would be a great help for planning picture walls and patio stones.