This laser tape measuring device, which is really an ultrasonic distance measuring device, can be found on ebay for about $20 at the time of this writing. It's an older model from the IntelliMeasure series of tools from Stanley.
This device features a rather large sized ultrasonic transmitter and receiver, similar to the old Polaroid cameras that is the actual workhorse of this tool. It's accuracy is stated as +/- 0.5% with a 2 - 50 foot range. Longer measurements can be achieved by taking smaller measurements and adding on by using the (+) button.
It also uses a handy laser pointer on the side so you know what you're pointing at. However, unlike significantly more expensive devices, this laser doesn't measure anything.
It has some neat features as far as calculating area and volume by simply telling it which measurements comprise the length, width and height and pressing the desired function.
It also can measure in feet or inches, from either the top or bottom of the unit. Although that allows you to take semi-accurate measurements from one wall to another, it's really just adding 5 inches to the top measurement. These changes are selected by depressing the mode button.
Now what can we do with a device like that. Well, you can't measure wood to cut it, that's for sure. You can get generally good areas of rooms, for example if you're looking at apartments or houses. I suppose if you want to be relatively sure where your dresser is in your room as opposed to your bed, you can figure that out.
Now what's wrong with this device? Well it can give you some quite crazy measurements at times. When pointed at a wall with a net of Christmas lights on it, it thought it was 20 feet farther away than it was. Fabric can absorb the ultrasonic waves and thus create inaccurate readings. Even ceiling tiles can cause problems. Also, readings must be taken perpendicular to the surface, or they'll just bounce around and give an error message, which prevents it being used if that dresser is at any angle.