Structure Sensor is a 3D scanner that attaches to your iPad's camera to create three-dimensional models by scanning the world around you.
Now that 3D printing is officially something that is starting to filter down to the consumer level, the next big thing in the arena seems to be 3D scanners — dual-sensor gadgets that allow you to scan in a real-life object to create a 3D model that you can then use to.
They can get pretty pricey, though. Kinect for Windows has the , but it's a developer tool more than anything. The MakerBot Digitizer is a little more user friendly — if you have US$1400 kicking around.
Or another solution currently seeking funding on Kickstarter could be the go. Called the Structure Sensor, it's compatible with any iOS device that uses the Lightning connector (or other devices using a USB OTG adapter) and is being offered as a reward with pledges of just US$349.99.
The Structure Sensor uses two cameras and an infrared LED that provides a uniform infrared light to capture the most accurate structure data it can — even in the dark. It connects to your iDevice using the Lightning connector, but it won't drain its battery: the sensor has its own on-board power supply that, designer Occipital claims, has over 1000 hours of standby. And it has a good range, too: from 40 centimetres to 3.5 metres, meaning you can 3D model an entire room.
Its potential uses aren't just limited to 3D printing, either. You can map spaces for architectural or interior design purposes, or use it to create 3D models for games, either wholly digital or augmented reality. And for developers, it allows you to build mobile applications that interact with 3D geometry. All 3D models can be exported directly to CAD or uploaded to Shapeways for 3D printing.
Head over to the Structure Sensor Kickstarter project page for more information.