So there's a building in front of you. How far away is it? How tall is it?
That's an easy one: remember trigonometry? No?? Don't tell me - mere mention of the world itself brings back memories fraught with doodling in your high school notebooks instead of dutifully jotting down the critical formulae to pass your next exam.
The world "trigonometry" comes from the Greek trigōnon, "triangle" and metron, "measure." Ahhh, it's coming back to me now, you think. A squared plus B squared equals C squared, right? What's the isosceles of the hypotenuse? Where did I leave that cotangent, anyway?
Okay. Hands off the math. Leave the numbers to the experts, mmkay? And, obviously, in this case the experts are robots. The mini-bots we lovingly call smartphones, anyway.
You can instantaneously and accurately measure both height and distance of any object using just the free Smart Measure app and your Android device. Point your camera lens at any far away object and let your robot slave do the thinking for you, spitting back a quick answer in either feet or meters.
I know, I gave you a hard time with that trigonometry crap - you'll forgive me.
2. You'll see a display of what's in front of you using your phone's camera. Locate the bottom of the object you want to measure with the crosshairs and tap the shutter button. The app will give a good estimate of how far away the object is in meters (you can change this to feet and inches if you're still stuck in the Imperial system). The spirit level on the bottom of the screen will help you hold your device parallel to the ground.
3. Tap the "Get Height" button, then tilt your phone upwards until the crosshairs are level with the top of the object.
4. Tap the shutter button once more, and hey presto! You'll get an accurate readout of the object's height.
5. If you want to take a screenshot of the current screen, just tap the camera icon in the top righthand corner.
6. Not shooting right from the ground? Tap the paper icon with the "H" on it to enter in the starting height of the device - that is, the approximate height from which you're holding it while measuring. The default is 1.5 meters, but you can change this to whatever you want.
7. Need to calibrate the app? Just go into the settings menu using the icon in the top lefthand corner and tap "Calibrate." Place your device flat against a wall so that the gyroscope within can detect a 90 degree angle from the ground. This will make your measurements ultra-accurate, impressing your friends and crushing your enemies.
Who needs trig, anyway? Have your friends dubbed you "The Measuring Maniac" yet? Tell us about the most amazing thing you ever took the height of in the Comments below.