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I built this ultrasonic tape measure today using an Arduino Duemilanove, a PING))) sensor, and a 7-Segment Shield. I’ll post a video this week showing it in action.

I’ve got a project in the works that’ll require distance sensing and display. I wrote some code that samples the distance from the PING))) sensor to nearest object ten times, displays the average value in inches on the 7-Segment display, and calls that “normal”, turning the big RGB LED green. When objects move in front of it, the new values are displayed and the LED turns red or blue to correlate to closer or farther. In my upcoming project, victims who see the LED turn red will regret it!

Here’s a great post Marc de Vinck did on using the PING))) sensor with an Arduino.

In the Maker Shed:

makershedsmall Ultrasonic Arduino tape measure

PING))) sensor

7-Segment Shield

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

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