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How to build a laser distance measuring device

Updated February 21, 2017

Laser distance measuring devices are used by architects, golfers, surveyors and hunters, among others, to measure the distance between two objects. The devise uses a laser to send a beam of light to the object and can determine the distance by how quickly the light refracts back to the sender. You may enjoy building your own laser distance measuring device, especially if you like the challenge of do-it-yourself projects.

Form a V shape from cardboard by bending it in half. Tape the webcam to the top of the V. The webcam will close the top off so as to form a triangle.

Put the laser pointer below the webcam so that the two are parallel. Connect the webcam to the USB port of a computer or a laptop.

Download a C++ range-finding software program to your computer. This will allow you to measure the distance of the laser refracting off the object.

Install the program on your PC and open it up by clicking the icon on your desktop.

Turn on the web camera. Press on the button of the laser pointer and aim it toward an object. The software will automatically calculate the distance, which will appear on the screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Webcam
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Laser pointer
  • C++ range-finding software
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About the Author

Palmer Owyoung holds a Master of Arts in international business from the University of California at San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is a trained molecular biologist. He has been a freelance writer since 2006. In addition to writing, he is a full-time Forex trader and Internet marketer.