While a strip of SensorTape is similar in shape to masking tape, the two were built for very different purposes. Instead of holding things together, this "smart tape" from MIT is designed to detect the contours of an object and sense motion and light, Fast Company reports.

Artem Dementyev, Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, and Joe Paradiso created the tape [PDF] as part of MIT Media Lab's Responsive Environments group. The device is just a pattern of circuits adhered to a flexible ribbon of film, meaning it can bend, roll, and fold to hug the curves of nearly any object and translate its shape into an accurate 3D model. Its applications are numerous—from being woven into the motion-capture suits used in filmmaking to instantaneously measuring the curvature of someone's spine for medical analysis. The tape is also equipped with light and proximity sensors, which allow it to measure its distance relative to another object.

MIT's SensorTape can be cut to fit a certain length without damaging the sensors (scissor icons on the tape show where it's ok to cut), and the strips can be rejoined together using regular tape to form a specific shape. For anyone interested in tinkering with this kind of technology at home, all the Arduino-compatible hardware and software designs are available on GitHub. You can watch the SensorTape in action in the video below.

[h/t Fast Company]