Want to turn your iPad into a 3D scanner? Have we got a Kickstarter campaign for you!

structure sensor shrinks 3d scanning down to an ipad attachment scanner

There are plenty of options for tinkerers at home who want to play with 3D scanning and modeling. If you’ve got a lot of dough to burn, you might have already invested in the MakerBot Digitizer desktop 3D scanner which runs for upward of $1,400 a set. For those on the more conservative side of the budget, look no further than software and hacks designed for the $99 Microsoft Kinect. Today, San Francisco startup Occipital is releasing a device that’s a compromise of both money and hardware with the Structure Sensor, a mobile 3D scanner attachment that goes right on your iPad.

No more fussing around a computer to get things going, the Structure Sensor simply mounts around the side of the iPad, turning the tablet into a portable 3D scanner. This allows users to snap photos and scan 3D data on the fly, enabling them to use the outdoor environment to model virtual and augmented reality scenes.

Structure Sensor body scanThe Structure Sensor’s mobility also means you can scan items of any size regardless of whether it would fit a traditional desktop scanner. Want to model your best friend’s athletic physique and create a video game character inspired by his God-like body? Go for it. Need to take a picture of the living room to plan a home renovation? You can do that too. The lack of size limitations and desktop immobility allows users to draw inspiration from wherever they’re located, be it a stroll during lunch break or a vacation in the rain forest.

“We had developers in mind when we designed the Structure Sensor,” said Vikas Reddy, Occipital co-founder. “The Structure Sensor will launch with the Structure SDK, which lets developers access a 3D sensor on iOS for the very first time. They’ll be able to build their apps in Xcode, and launch them on the App Store.”


The Structure Sensor will be able to capture images as far away as 11.5 feet. The device runs on rechargeable battery power, and lasts up to four hours per charge. Android users can also take part in the mobile scanning by using a USB adapter to fit the device onto non-apple power slots. The Structure Sensor starts at $350 a set, with some early bird backing specials still available at $330. If the project is meets its goal of $100,000 by November 1st, the device will ship in February of next year.