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    Turn your iPad into a mobile 3D scanner!

    The device uses a process known as structured light, in which an infrared laser projector casts a specific pixel pattern on the scene in front of it. The Structure Sensor's infrared sensor then records distortions in this dot pattern at VGA resolution as you move your iPad around the object you're scanning, creating a depth (3D) map of the scene and the objects in it. (The Structure Sensor's infrared detector was developed by PrimeSense, now owned by Apple, which designed the 3D sensor for Microsoft's Kinect.) The device also uses the iPad's camera, to record colour data.

    There's a Lightning cable included that's just long enough to plug into the iPad's Lightning port. The Structure Sensor has its own internal battery, and comes with a power adapter for charging. 

    Capture scale accurate 3D models of people, objects and places with your iPad

    NT3D by Occipital on Sketchfab

    No wires to limit movement, and no turntable to limit the size of what you can capture. A screen right in front of you to show what you scan, as you scan it. And the speed to capture high-quality, full-color 3D scans in seconds instead of minutes.

    Whats the difference between the bundles?

     Structure Sensor & Bracket

    Structure Sensor, Bracket, Skanect Pro & USB Hacker Cable

    One Structure Sensor,

    Precision iPad bracket (Select size in drop down menu)

    Lightning Cable (For iPad Pro 12.5 inch)

    AC adapter (For uk customers)

    Free access to the Structure SDK

    One Structure Sensor,

    Precision iPad bracket (Select size in drop down menu)

    Lightning Cable (For iPad Pro 12.5 inch)

    Ac adapter (For UK customers)

    Free access to the Structure SDK,

    Skanect Pro scanning software (Software will be sent electronically to the email address provided with your shipping details)

    USB Hacker Cable (Allows you to connect your Structure Sensor to nearly any device with a 2.0 port)


    Everything you need, including apps.

    The Structure Sensor includes all you need to start using your Structure Sensor right out of the box. There are already apps built for the Structure Sensor in the App Store, and we've also provided a set of sample apps in the Structure SDK to show more of what's possible.


    Occipital's Apps:

    Occipital offers several free Structure Sensor-related apps for download from the iTunes Store; most are designed to show off the device's ability to developers, for which the company provides an SDK. Although the company has focused on the device's use with the iPad, it can also be used with Android devices, and Occipital is offering open-source drivers, open CAD specs, and the hacker cable for use on other platforms.

    Occipital Structure Sensor

    The device's main app is called Structure. It offers three data streams to view: IR, which provides solely infrared data; Depth, which shows you a false-color view, with the nearest objects displayed as red, distant objects as blue, and objects of intermediate distance shown in varying shades of orange, yellow, and green based on their distance from the sensor, and tells you the distance (in centimeters) to whatever object is at the center of your screen; and Depth + Color, which combines true color with false color based on depth. In addition, it gives you information on firmware, serial number, and how much charge is left in the Structure Sensor's battery.

    With the Structure app, seeing your surroundings on your tablet's screen as imaged through the virtual eyes of the Structure sensor plus iPad is a fascinating and surreal experience. It helps you appreciate the 3D-sensing capabilities of the Structure Sensor.

    Virtual Physics:

    The other apps I downloaded deal with virtual reality (VR) and physics. The Fetch app involves a skateboarding cat trying to reach a yellow ball; the app is designed to show off the platform's VR gaming potential. First, you scan a portion of your surroundings—including interesting foreground objects if possible—and your real world will become part of the game's virtual reality setting. For example, the cat can't move through solid, real-world objects in its pursuit of the ball. A similar app, Ball Physics, lets you launch virtual balls into a representation of a real-world scene that you've already scanned. When they hit the virtual representation of a physical object (such as a colleague's Rocket Raccoon action figure), the balls bounce off it on a realistic trajectory. The Scanner app lets you scan a scene in 3D, and then view it in X-ray (see-through) mode or in Mesh (as solid object) mode. You can email the 3D file from within the app. Finally, the Viewer app lets you see your surroundings in three views simultaneously: a Camera (realistic) view; a Depth view, in which surfaces are color-coded according to their proximity to you; and a Surface normal view. Viewed together, these apps demonstrate the types of data streams that the Structure Sensor offers, as well as the device's application to both 3D scanning and mapping, and VR gaming.

    A Third-Party Scanning App for the Structure Sensor:

    The first third-party iPad app for the Structure Sensor in the iTunes Store, released in late July, is itSeez3D, a scanning app that can scan both objects and human headshots in 3D. In our testing, it did a credible job at 3D scanning, particularly in scanning people, and its files can be uploaded from the app to a 3D model site or emailed. To 3D print the file, you must then open it with your 3D printer's software. We did some 3D scans of people using the app and then printed them out on a MakerBot Replicator 2X, with generally satisfactory results. The Occipital Structure Sensor is a 3D sensor that integrated seamlessly with the iPad in our testing. It's geared to software developers, although there are several available apps that can be used for 3D scanning by artists or 3D printing hobbyists. Down the line, when a wider range of apps have been created for it, the device could become popular with gamers and a more general audience. Until then, it provides developers with the opportunity to create apps for a low-cost 3D sensor with great potential. I, for one, can't wait to see what they come up with.

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