Forget the sanding, the painting, and all the construction; the worst part of a renovation is having to use a tape measure to size up a room. But if you're willing to cough up $560, there's now a much better way that almost sounds like magic. It's a smartphone accessory called the Spike that uses lasers, GPS, and other sensors to automatically measure everything in a photo you take. Say wha?!

Since it relies on a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone, instead of interfacing with ports or any of that nonsense, the Spike will play happily with iOS and Android hardware—as long as they include GPS capabilities. The device itself features a laser, a 3D compass, and its own rechargeable battery, and uses all of this to create a fairly accurate guesstimate of the size of objects or structures anywhere from six to 600 feet away.

This Laser Smartphone Add-On Accurately Measures Everything In a Photo

There is a trade-off, of course. By "fairly accurate guesstimate" we mean the Spike is accurate to plus or minus eight inches, and we assume the closer an object is, the better chance it will have of gauging its size. That being said, it still seems like a wonderful contraption, especially since the dimensions for given objects in a scene are automatically overlaid on the photo you snap. And, you can export the measurements and automatically create a 3D model in SketchUp.

So come May of next year when the Spike will hopefully be shipping to those who've pre-ordered, you'll finally be able to replace that tape measure that's a giant pain for measuring larger distances. Good riddance. [ikeGPS via Gizmag]