The Kinect is all very well for playing games, but a 3D sensor can do much more than make Han Solo dance for your amusement.
The Structure Sensor is a clip-on 3D sensor for your iPad that turns your tablet into a full-fledged 3D scanner – meaning that you can take all of the Kinect's depth-sensing trickery out into the real world. Developers Occipital have already raised US$460,000 on Kickstarter, four times the Structure Sensor's initial goal.
3D in the real world
The Structure Sensor captures data in all three dimensions – so it's perfect for measuring objects and spaces. Wave it around a room and you've instantly got an accurate 3D map. Or you can circle around a particular object, and the Structure Sensor will turn it into a 3D model, ready to be duplicated on your 3D printer.
Fun and games
Because the Structure Sensor measures depth data and occlusion, it means that you can insert AR objects into a realistic 3D space. That has practical applications – for example, you can place AR furniture in a room to see what it'll look like. But it'll also make AR games on the iPad much more impressive. AR characters will be able to interact with the 3D space, hiding behind and crawling upon objects in the real world.
One particularly awesome tech demo shows off a Structure Sensor attached to an Oculus Rift VR headset – meaning that you can track your hands in the virtual 3D world. One thing's for sure – we can't wait to get our hands on one for real. Check out the Kickstarter page for more details.