Occipital New Structure Sensor Turns Your iPad Into A Mobile 3D Scanner
The folks at Boulder/San Francisco-based Occipital are very much software people: the company’s RedLaser app was a big hit in the early App Store days before the team sold it to eBay, as was 360 Panorama before iOS 6′s Panorama feature took some of the wind out of its sails.
Their roots may be in software, but now the team is trying something very, very new. Occipital just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its very first hardware project: the Structure, a portable 3D sensor that straps to the back of your iPad that should ship by next February.
Update: Wow, the Occipital team has blown past its $100K funding goal in just over three hours.
“It took us out of our comfort zone,” CEO Jeff Powers admitted. “We went from a team of basically three to about 13, which is still ridiculously tiny, and no one sleeps anymore.”
Those sleepless nights seem to have paid off. The Structure itself is an awfully handsome piece of kit. Small and clad in colored anodized aluminum, it doesn’t look anything like the clunky 3D sensors you may have already been exposed to. That’s a testament to the sort of fastidious tweaking that went into making the Structure what it is — there’s a full-sized PrimeSense Carmine sensor in there, but it was up to Occipital to cut out the physical cruft so the Structure could fit in a pocket. Power consumption also had to be cut dramatically since it runs off the iPad 4′s battery (though it’ll technically connect to any iDevice in your arsenal that has a Lightning dock connector).
The really astonishing bit is how quickly the Structure works in capturing all of this data. Powers took the Structure and a few of the bundled demo apps for a brief spin in our New York office, and in a matter of mere moment he was able to capture a virtual bust of his ever-present marketing director and firing it off to Shapeways for printing. Scanning the topology of a side room was similarly quick, as was the process of throwing a virtual cat into the mix that would chase after balls that bounced off of 3D interpretations of couches and under coffee tables.