When Occipital launched the Structure Sensor (through a Kickstarter campaign in 2013), its intended use was to scan the real world and bring it into the digital world. However, by combining the sensor’s 3D scanning capabilities with the real world camera from an iPhone, Occipital can repurpose Structure for AR and VR. Now, the company is now offering AR/VR developer kits that can integrate the Structure Sensor into smartphone HMDs.
Occipital’s roots lie in software development, and the company leveraged that strength to maximize the capability of its Structure Sensor. The company created a mixed reality software engine called Bridge Engine, which lets developers place lifelike animations into real-world locations in real time. Bridge Engine supports casting digital shadows on real-world objects, occlusion behind the real environment, and the ability for physics-based interactions between virtual and real objects.
The Structure Sensor scans the real environment to create a digital reconstruction of it that virtual objects and characters can interact with. The Bridge Engine can also transition from AR to VR environments. In virtual reality scenes, the software uses the room’s 3D data to create an advanced chaperone system that highlights furniture and other hazards.
Occipital’s Structure Sensor is meant to be a portable, tether-free device. It pairs with an iOS device such an iPad or an iPhone and lets you walk around freely to scan your space. The AR/VR dev kits are also tether-free and offer full 6-degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking, which opens up the possibilities for tracked spaces of potentially unlimited size.
Occipital developed a new generation Structure Core sensor that hardware designers can order now for integration into future virtual and augmented reality devices, but the current hardware already offers a viable solution for developers to start building projects that leverage the technology. The Structure Sensor is capable of sub-10ms positional tracking with minimal jitter (0.4 mm RMSE), and it is optimized to do so on less than 50% of the performance of one 1.5GHz ARMv8 core.
The developer kits are available now in limited quantities for qualified developers. The kits include a Structure Sensor and a mobile VR HMD with a custom 3D printed faceplate that's designed to hold the sensor and an iPhone 6 or 6S. The dev kits are available only for iPhone devices because the Structure Senor is an iOS-only peripheral. Occipital does not include the phone with the dev kit. Visit the Structure.io website to apply for a dev kit.