While measuring units are important aids in deriving the magnitudes of physical quantities, it’s quite difficult to relate these magnitudes especially across digital platforms to real-life. But with the Banana for scale, real-life images can be better understood and appreciated.
Banana for Scale; An Introduction
From time immemorial, the need to measure materials and physical quantities, have been among the top needs of man when relating to these materials. This need led to the formation of various units and standards for assessing these materials. In recent times the Banana for scale has risen to prominence.
These ancient methods of scaling and deriving magnitudes of quantities were sufficient for a time, aiding and pioneering various aspects of life. They formed the basis for trade, construction, and inventory recording for civilizations like the Roman Empire, Ancient and Ptolemaic Egypt.
In recent times, measurement methods are required to be more precise. With the rise of highly professional and sophisticated career fields, like accounting, engineering, pharmacology, surgeons, research developers, and product designers, etc.
Although measurement has been developing adjacent to technological improvements, there is another aspect of measurement, that remains relatively untouched and underdeveloped, the world of virtual dimensioning as it relates to real life-size. This is why the banana for scale phenomenon has risen to prominence.
Measurements in History
The measurement system has been with human civilization since the beginning of the great civilization of the past. The earliest use of these measuring systems was as far back as the 4th century BC, where they were mostly used for counting agricultural products, trade, and calculating constructional materials.
These early standards of measurement weren’t widely recognized, as individual kingdoms had and used a different system. Meaning that they were several units of measurements in use at a time.
Furthermore, Ancient civilization like Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Elam was among the pioneers of these new methods of measuring physical quantities.
Some of the most common ways of measuring length in these historic era was by the forearm, hand, finger, feet, etc. while time was measured with the aid of the Sun, Moon, stars, and other natural activities.
While measurements of mass mostly grains were done by the mina system which later developed to pounds, the shekel which is a smaller unit, and the talent, which was a larger unit.
However, today the world depends on metric and imperial units to carry out all forms of measurements, they’ve settled the issue of homogeneity in measurements.
But, in a world that’s now going digital, it’s becoming increasingly difficult, to clearly understand the dimensions of materials that appear on your screen.
The Dawn of Digital Technology
American engineers and software experts have been developing digital technologies since the mid-twentieth century. Their methods were based on mathematical principles established by forerunners like seventeenth-century German mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz, who invented the binary number system.
The idea of the binary number system is a unit of measurement is also correct. In truth, all number systems are actually based on some units, but that’s a theme for another topic.
Fast forward to early 2000, as digital technologies have successfully permeated all aspects of human activities and technologies. Digital technologies are now built in different sizes and shapes to perform various tasks making life easier.
Digital technologies depend on the user interface to input features like voice recognition, touchscreen, digital scaling, and measurements.
The fast-paced development has facilitated by an equally well-developed user interface, that has enabled users to adequately communicate with their computing devices and programs.
It’s here that the journey of digital scaling and measurements begins. These user interfaces are regarded as a human-computer interface.
Some of the most notable development in digital interface includes
Although they’ve been so many types of Human-Computing interface, very few developments have been made in the area of digital measurements.
Banana for Scale
Banana for scale is a method of getting the relative scale and measurement of a particular material by placing a banana in the image.
The idea of using a banana for images is to give a true-to-life representation of the object being photographed.
However, Banana for Scale has been developed to an almost standardized unit, with values that can be converted to other basic metric units both in mass and in length.
Origin of Banana for Scale
The use of banana for scale first started on March 30th, 2005, when a lady posted a sales pitch on the blog Rockdogdesigns, for the sales of her TV. The description was as follows:
“I don’t know how large the screen is, we ‘re moving and I can’t find the measuring tape. I do have a banana, though. Oh, wait, my husband says it’s 19-inch away. Oh well, I’m going to leave the banana to draw. Are you interested please.”
Click here to find out how it all started.
On December 8th, 2014, Tom Hanks was featured in a post about the banana for Scale, where he was looking perplexed at a large banana that was held for scale. But, this was enough to give the scaling choice the much-needed public interest at the time.
Timeline for the Banana for Scale
Funny enough, the use of banana for scale didn’t receive any online attention after the TV sales, until a whole five years, on the August 30th of 2010, when a blogger Andy Herald posted a photograph of a safe to his Facebook with a banana positioned beside the metal box.
The banana positioned by the side of the box safe enabled anyone looking at the picture to know the size of the box. So there is little need for checking on the length, making it more practical.
Two years after, on August 24th, 2012, Herald compiled an infographic to the parenting humor blog HowToBeADad for using a banana as a measuring unit, more on that later. But, basically, it set a new standard for using the banana as measurement.
Furthermore, the timeline continued to reduce as one year later, on 11th of June, 2013, an Imgur user KingOPancakes posted a photo album entitled “How to win a wager when you lose a bet,” which included pictures of a complicated prank lockbox containing a $15 Dunkin Donuts card. A banana is seen for comparison in two of the images.
Again, two months later, another Imgur user TwoBiteBrownie shared a picture gallery featuring several images of a secret staircase found behind a bookshelf. Several items and candy wrappers are seen next to a banana peel in one of the photographs which he says was put there “for scale”.
Also, that same November, Reddit user, r0bbE Forwarded subreddit a photograph of a large banana positioned next to a keyboard and a smaller “for size” banana. The post had received over 11,300 upvotes and 530 comments in the first 21 days.
Finally, the biggest catalyst for the rise of banana for scale came on December 8th, of 2014, as another Reddit user, ASharkToof published a picture of himself with iconic actor Tom Hanks, with Hanks awkwardly looking at a huge banana, which he held “for scale” and as expected, with a week, the post had gathered over 25,000 votes and 500 comments.
By the end of the year, every notable user of Reddit knew about the new image scaling method, the banana for scale, blogs were written about it, like Daily Dot, who wrote the banana photo fad, for its users.
To better appreciate the influence banana had as a scaling method, the best resource to use is Google Trends.
As you may know, Google Trend is a Google-owned website that analyses the popularity of several search queries or volume over time, across several regions of the US or any other country.
Google Trends reduces the rate of search to a cumulative of 100% and ranks the sub-regions, in this case, states that were interested in the search query.
The Google Trends image below shows the frequency of the google search for the banana for scale in the US from 2004 to 2020.
This Image shows that the interest in the banana for scale over time and it can be seen that they’ve been a spike in public interest in 2004, an even greater spike in 2015, and a decline ever since.
Also, between 2004 and 2015 they were relatively no activity in the search for a banana for scale until it was resurrected in 2014.
Finally, the graph also shows a recent decline in the use of the word at the moment. Maybe we can help the phrase at the end of this article.
About 21 US states have been greatly involved in the search for a banana for scale since the concept came to be in 2014. With the top states being;
Besides, to get a glimpse of the future, we have to consider the word as of 2020.
Since 2015, the use of the word has been on the decline, with erratic ups and down in the search for the word across all Google platforms. But when we look at the states that have been searching for the word in 2020 then we see the interesting shift.
So far, in 2020 the former states with the biggest interest in Banana for Scale have so far been inactive. This is a major shift in interest.
Now, the states with the highest entry include;
- New Jersey, and
Banana as a Standard Unit
The Analog Measuring Value
In 2012, the Herald circulated an infographic post that provided a standard measurement for the banana for scale.
The Herald’s standard didn’t provide any related-table measurements to standards units but rather divided the banana to four different sub-parts.
The Standard Provided Online
By far the most efficient method of banana for scale measurements was provided for by the banana for scale website. The website is also available as an app for android phones.
Similarly, the website allows for the conversion banana for scale into Lengths and Mass units. With units like inches, feet, feet, and inches being provided for the length and units like ounces, pounds, and short tons, etc, being provided for Mass.
The website allows for the conversion of these metric units into bananas and not the other way round.
From the measuring website, we know that 7.01 inches is equal to 1 banana and 0.584 feet is also equal to 1 banana.
While for the weight, 0.2645 pounds is equal to 1 banana, and 4.231 ounces is equal to 1 banana.
Others Materials used for Scale
Besides the banana for scale, they’ve been other attempts to introduce other materials as scaling devices. Most notable of them include;
- Guitar for Temperature
- Double Bed for Scale
Guitar for Temperature
It started back in January of 2013, as a Reddit user posted an image of a frozen pool in Phoenix, Arizona, with his acoustic guitar resting on the ice. With the guitar in the pool, it was easier to tell that the pool was frozen.
The Guitar for temperature received a lot of attention that year but we don’t think it can surpass the success of the banana for scale.
Double Bed for Scale
This almost sounds like a no-brainer, but it was introduced just recently in 2017 and was used by Redditor dosh_jonaldson, who was “apartment hunting”. In his post, he tried his bed in every single room and passage in the house.
The post garnered over 115,000 points on Reddit and 1,200 upvotes in weeks. With this amount of approval, using Furniture items to scale could be a trend for selling real estate, as it gives customers the view of how a furnished room will look like.
Banana as scaling tool provides a function no other metric unit or imperial unit can, because it’s not just a set of numbers on a tap or inputted values on a calculator, but a realistic measurement, that could be converted to our aforementioned units and could help with imagination during in a digital image.
The major drawback of the banana as a scaling unit or tool is its acceptability. Cos, we don’t see scientists, engineers, and other very strict measurement-based professions, using them any time soon.
Moreover, the fact that they’re no standard age for the type of banana to be used could also be a challenge for the use of banana as a scaling tool.
Using a banana for weight could be difficult to do in real life, especially when compared to other easier weight measuring tools.
Over time, the calculations of measurements have seen great improvement, as modern units have become next to perfect. Even in digital technologies, measuring applications, have been fully optimized to yield excellent results.
But, even with this improvement, it has become increasingly hard to tell a short person in an image, unless they’re standing near a taller person. This is why banana as scaling tools, has a little rival in practicality.
Now that we have a standard value for the converting banana for scale, they can be of use to help sharpen our view of digital images and give us a true-to-life size. This could prove very useful in CAD designs also especially in the development of small packaged consumer products.