Answer me this: Is your workshop magical? Does every tool have a second use? A third? Do things light up and draw the eye just because they can?

No? Carry on. Nothing to see here. Ignore the rainbow glimmering.

Still here? Good. Let me talk to the grandparents with sparkling eyes and impish grins. To the children for whom their school bag is their utility belt, full of crime-fighting gadgets. This is for you.

The PyRuler is just what the name says it is: A 6″ ruler that is also a microcontroller, ready to be programmed in Python. It measures not just centimeters and inches (and accurately at that — we checked!), but the back is covered in labeled pads so you can see where a surface mount electronic component fits, and read what that sort of chip is named. On top of that, it’s also a miniature touch keyboard, because why not.

One thing to note: The PyRuler comes without headers. So if you really want to wire it up to something else, it’ll be time to break out the soldering iron.

At the end of the day, the PyRuler is a profoundly silly thing. Do you really need your ruler to have a microcontroller attached, with blinking lights and golden keypads? Perhaps. Perhaps this is the gift you sneak into your wide-eyed niece’s book-bag, hoping to spark a life-long love of electronics.

(A heads-up to Mac users: Make sure to grab the most recent version of the code off Adafruit’s website if you want to use the keyboard feature, and set your keyboard under OSX to “ABC” or “US”, not “ABC Extended”.)