You can have my new XBox One—this is the only toy that I really want this holiday season. Glassified is a modified ruler with a transparent display that supplements physical strokes made on the paper with virtual graphics—consider it an augmented reality of sorts for simple lines on a page. Before I make it sound all complicated, just watch the video.

Glassified Ruler

“First Rulers made of Ivory were in use by the Indus Valley Civilization period around 1500 BC. While the digital technology has evolved a lot in past 100 years, Not much has changed in their design since past 3000 years. Glassified is one such attempt, to ‘augment’ such a ubiquitous tool.”


Created within the MIT Media Lab (Fluid Interfaces Group) by Anirudh Sharma, Lirong Liu, and Pattie Maes, the device is designed to complement rather than replace a traditional ruler with a transparent display that allows for both the physical marks and virtual graphics to be visible. Aimed at aiding the user in drawing straight lines as well as taking measurements from analog ‘sketches’, the Glassified essentially digitizes an otherwise time-consuming process quickly and clearly.

The prototype (as seen above) consists of a transparent OLED combined with a see-through ruler which allows the AR-like experience. Utilizing a connected computer that does the gesture/stroke recognition, the pen strokes are captured by a Wacom digitizer using their API.

According to Anirudh Sharma’s blog, there are DIY instructions on the way. Okay, I’ll take the XBox One back.







Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.