As a designer the ability to capture scaled real world elements is an incredibly exciting prospect. One such product allows just that, the Structure Sensor made by Occipital is a 3D scanning product that uses structured light (LASERS) to sense depth. In combination with an iPhone or iPad the sensor can also create colored models by combining the camera of the iPhone or iPad. The Structure Sensor is also compatible with PCs with the purchase of additional hacker cable.
There are a variety of 3D scanners on the market ranging from $10,000 + to under $300. After researching we decided to purchase the structure sensor (the cheapest) to see what it can do and how exactly we could apply it in design situations. When it arrived it was a bit underwhelming and took a bit of searching around the web to set up.
The sensor itself is reliant on compatible hardware and software to truly function. It took me an hour or so just to get it started on my iPhone. Another issue I noticed was that it was a bit awkward to hold so I ended up making a clamp that can attach to multiple devices available for download and 3D printing at the following link. STRUCTURE SENSOR CLAMP
The first application that came to mind was scanning people for creating our own scaled 3D printed entourage for design models. The first attempt at scanning was incredibly satisfying and FAST! 10 seconds of scanning and 5 seconds of processing, I was blown away.....
The end result of the model was exactly what I had hoped for.
One of the advertised features of this devise was the ability to scan a full room with accuracy. We took it one step further and scanned a portion of our exterior courtyard with our 4x4 Bench which is a very complex thing to scan.
The scanner once again impressed but with a new technology it absolutely has some flaws. With that said the models were all accurate within the inch and capable of being 3D printed. The speed and accuracy of this affordable scanning device is very promising and we cannot wait to test it more.
- Nahal and Eric