Structure Sensor: An Affordable 3D Scanner for Mobile Devices

With an additional 31 days on Kickstarter, Occipital’s 3D Scanner has already garnered eight times its original funding goal – that’s over $800,000 from eager supporters. It’s not surprising since the scanner is the most affordable hardware options for 3D lovers everywhere. At $349, the scanner is cheaper than its cheapest counterpart, the $1000 Fuel 3D that was also funded on Kickstarter.

The 3D camera is a powerful attachment that also lets you capture imaging in the dark using infrared LEDs. The best part about the Structure Sensor is its ability to connect to your iPad’s camera and any supporting apps. In fact, the scanner and camera uses the gyro and accelerometer that’s built into iPads. The hardware comes with attachments for iPads and a demo iOS app that has the following features:

1. Object Scanner:  Capture models of objects and export them to CAD software or for 3D printing.  You can also upload models directly to for 3D printing.

2. Room Capture:  Easily capture a 3D model of a room by simply spinning around with your Structure Sensor and iPad.  Then, tap any two points to retrieve distances.

3. Fetch:  A virtual pet to play fetch within the physical world around you.

4. Ball Physics:  An augmented reality demo where virtual balls interact with the dense geometry of the world.


For non-iPad users, the scanner will work with most phones including Android, but there are no demo apps or hardware-ready packages for Android users. Given the large community of developers, I would expect a solution that’s open to the public within the next year.