Jeff Burns knows the little problems construction workers encounter on the job site. That’s the only business in which he’s worked, reports

He does, however, have a hobby that has now earned him $10,000 in a national television contest.

This part-time inventor won top honors on DIY Network’s first-ever “Cool Tools: Inventor Challenge” with a tool he calls the SpeedRead, which is a modified tape measure created to make builders’ lives easier.

The tool allows the user measure between two objects — such as the distance between interior walls of a cabinet or house — without having to bend the tape and guess the final increment. The SpeedRead calculates the length of the tape’s base housing unit into the measurement, which allows the person using it to keep the tape flat and get the accurate measurement from the number in the viewport.

“I took a problem that I’ve had with using a tape measure and (fixed it),” said Burns.

Burns spent seven months and went through 22 tape measures and eight prototypes to create the two final products he planned to pitch to tool companies and others interested parties, he said. While doing some early research in 2008 for his pitch, he ran across information about DIY Network’s challenge.

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