Apr 16, 2020

Over 25 years of innovation: A timeline

Tyler Morency
4 years ago

Over 25 years of innovation: A timeline

New Brunswick may not be the first place you expect to find the manufacturers of the most advanced deformation measuring and monitoring instrumentation in the world, but that’s what you’ll find at Measurand’s headquarters in Fredericton.

Founded in 1993, Measurand, the maker of ShapeAccelArray, shortened to ShapeArray in 2017, sells thousands of sensorized segments each year to a range of international clients who need to trust the data from their monitoring instrumentation. Serving clients that work in a range of sectors—urban construction, tunnels, mining and tailings, dams and levees, and geohazards—only Measurand’s ShapeArray gives clients the way to automate their deformation monitoring with a patented product. But ShapeArray wasn’t always Measurand’s flagship solution.

Measurand started out focused on fibre optics. During the early years, Measurand produced research funded by the Canadian Space Agency and the National Research Council to develop patented fibre optic bend-sensing technologies. This research was instrumental in the development of ShapeTape and ShapeWrap, which were used in 3D motion-capture of the human body for computer graphics and animation.

But after a serendipitous decision to attend the International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG), a large geotechnical conference in Newfoundland, it was this background in shape-sensing technology that led Measurand to create ShapeArray. Introduced to Dr. Tarek Abdoun at the conference, he encouraged Measurand to use their existing technology to develop an in-ground 3D motion-sensor for measuring soil deformation in real-time, noting absence of such a product in the market. He believed in the prototype Measurand developed with his feedback so much, Dr. Abdoun used his connections in the field of geotechnics to help Measurand find its first clients.


The first installation of ShapeArray took place in Malibu, California in 2003. Since then, ShapeArray technologies have helped mitigate risk and save lives in projects all over the world. In 2008, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) deployed ShapeArray in a pilot project near Crookston, MN, an area prone to slide events over the past 50 years. ShapeArray were placed along two roadway sections experiencing erosion and soil instability. ShapeArray data revealed that soil movements at the site were more pronounced than anticipated and that a major failure was occurring. MnDOT closed the westbound lanes of US 2 as a result, and within ten days a large progressive landslide dropped a 150 m section of the highway by three metres. ShapeArray helped engineers ensure that no members of the public were hurt during the sliding event.

In 2017, we debuted SAAV—ShapeArray the only patented monitoring instrument of its kind. Featuring fast, simple, direct installation, SAAV allows users to capture real-time deformation data vertically, horizontally, or in an arc. SAAV’s patented cyclical installation method means it can zigzag into both new and existing casings, even those that are too distorted for conventional use, making SAAV uniquely suited to retrofit existing monitoring infrastructure. SAAV’s versatility also means it can be configured for specific installations either at the time of the order or in the field after purchase, and it is available in both 500 mm and 250 mm segment lengths, allowing clients to customize by the amount of spatial resolution needed. ShapeArray gives you a more complete picture of movement with unparalleled resistance to deformation. This automated, inclinometer-style instrument has set a new standard for ease of installation and data collection.

To help walk you through the incredible journey, we’ve put together the interactive Measurand Innovations Timeline that illustrates the milestone moments for our company.

Launch the timeline
  • 1993

    The Beginning

    Measurand is established in Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • 1994

    Bend sensor development

    Measurand develops and patents fiber optic bend and position sensors for the medical and automotive sectors

    U.S. Patent 5,321,257

  • 1995

    Canadian Space Agency

    Receives funding from the CSA to develop sensor technology that ultimately leads to invention of ShapeTape

    U.S. Patent 5,633,494

  • 1999

    Patent on fiber optic sensor

    Measurand receives patent for "Fiber Optic Bending and Positioning Sensor" issued June 29, 1999

    Canadian Patent 2,073,162

  • 2001

    ShapeTape & ShapeHand debut

    Measurand designs and develops innovative motion capture technology

    U.S. Patent 6,127,672, 6,563,107

  • 2002

    Measurand Attends the ICPMG

    First contact with the geotechnical sector at the International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG)
  • 2004


    Design patent application sent about a new product designed to meet the specific needs of the geotechnical industry

    U.S. Patent 6,127,672, 6,563,107

  • 2005-08


    Measurand debuts ShapeWrap motion capture technology for the film and animation industry

    U.S. Patent 7,296,363

  • 2006

    Malibu installation

    ShapeAccelArray installed for ground monitoring for the first time​ in Malibu, CA

    Canadian Patent 2,472,421

  • 2007


    Suite of instrumentation developed for motion capture within Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines

    U.S. Patent 7,296,363

  • 2011

    SAAScan launched

    Built for rapid deployment and repeated use

    Canadian Patent 2,472,421

  • 2014

    SAAX launched

    Purpose-built for heavy-duty horizontal installation

    Canadian application 2,815,199 & 2,815,195

  • 2017

    SAAV launched

    The only geotechnical instrument with a patented cyclical installation method

    Cyclical Sensor Array, Canadian application 2,815,199 & 2,911,175