Bring on the Robotics
When you typically think of contemporary robotics, the first image that comes to mind might be of a vehicle assembly line, now all but devoid of human laborers, or the breakthroughs being made by NASA. Many do not realize that robotic technology is much closer to home, and utilized by gadgets that may even be stashed away in a toolbox in your very own garage.
One such gadget is the laser level, an often tripod mounted (although there are handheld varieties as well) level that projects a laser beam along a horizontal or vertical surface. Once the tripod itself has been leveled, the beam is switched on and a straight line is projected on the target surface, allowing the user to verify that anything from a picture frame to a wall stud is perfectly level. Taking the place of more primitive methods such as chalk lines and torpedo levels, laser levels are more precise and save time on both large and small jobs alike.
Laser Tape Measure
A similar tool that has become quite popular in the last few years is the laser tape measure. Essentially nothing more than a small range-finder, the laser tape measure shoots a beam from the handheld unit to any point within the tool’s range then displays the distance, generally to within 1/16 of an inch accuracy. When taking long measurements, the laser tape measure is much more convenient and easier to use than a standard tape measure, and saves much headache and hassle.
Tile Layout Laser
Another handy tool is the tile and square layout laser, which makes it much easier to plan and execute just about any type of tile job. Most are capable of adjusting the angle of the laser, allowing the user the option of a 45 and 135 degree layout if they so desire. Most users find the layout laser much more convenient than the old method of string and chalk, and this product is highly recommended for anyone planning on tackling a tile job in the future.
Automatic Stud Finders
Even something as simple as hanging a picture frame has become easier with the progression of technology. Whereas one used to have to ping lightly on a wall with a hammer, listening for the telltale muffled thump of a stud, automatic stud finders are now available and affordable. Basically, the automatic stud finder measures changes in density behind the wall, alerting the user when it is passed over a stud and giving the DIYer an idea of where they should be aiming to drive a nail.
Another neat addition to any DIYer’s toolbox is the non-contact infrared thermometer with laser designator, which allows the user to obtain an accurate temperature without having to directly contact the component at hand. These are often used when doing electrical work, where components can sometimes be too hot to safely touch. An infrared thermometer can also be used to detect air leaks and drafts, as well as troubleshoot poorly insulated areas of a house.
A few decades ago, most of these gadgets would have fallen into the realm of science fiction, but as technology moves inexorably forward and is incorporated into everyday household items, the average toolbox is getting more and more advanced, opening the door for people who may have been leery of tackling a DIY project and giving many that little bit of extra confidence. Embrace technology, use it to your advantage, and look around. I bet you have more technology around you than you realize.