Turn an iPad into a 3D scanner with Structure Sensor

In the same way that 3D printers have found their development in crowdfunding, so too have 3D scanners. The Matterform, Lynx A, Fuel3D, and Rubicon were all crowdfunded. There’s now another to add to the list, Structure Sensor.

Structure Sensor (SS) is a bit different though. It’s neither a handheld nor a desktop/turntable scanner; it’s an attachment for iPads. By connecting SS to an iPad, it gives the tablet 3D sensing capabilities. Much like the Lynx, it can capture whole rooms or single objects. Beyond that, it can generate augmented realities; digital objects displayed on the iPad can interact with the actual geometry of your physical surroundings. So digital balls can bounce off of your actual desk. Or you could scan the desk and determine what monitor would best fit on it. The SS can measure distances between selected points with an accuracy of 1% of the distance. That may not be accurate enough for engineering projects, but it’s good enough for checking to see if your sofa will fit in the new place you’re looking at.

I know I’ve only mentioned the iPad, but unlike the iPad, Structure Sensor will be open for development. While the Structure Sensor is currently built for the current iPad’s dimensions and Lightning connection, it won’t be limited to iPads, or even Apple devices. The mounting and interface systems will both be open for connecting to Androids and Linux devices through the USB Hacker Cable. And the SDK will be available for creating custom apps, like an infotour that points out tidbits of museum pieces. It can also be combined with other technologies, like the Oculus Rift for enhanced virtual reality.

It seems a fairly robust system, though the specs are hardly bleeding edge. The resolution is a mere 640×480, and objects have to be at least 35 centimeters away, though they can be as far as five meters away. Regardless, I think it’ll see a lot of use, especially for $349.

h/t: iPhone Photography

  • Seems theres a lot of companies developing 3D scanners, would like to see more improvements to desk top 3d printers.