‘Canvas’ From Occipital Scans Your Entire Home From An iPad

by Charles Singletary • November 21st, 2016

Our smartphones and tablets are often underestimated and underutilized by the average user, but these slim devices pack a ton of power. The cameras alone have the functionality of a separate device that could cost hundreds of dollars and can even replace the work of (or serve as the tool of) a professional photographer in the right hands. Canvas, a home improvement application, is using the tablet and an additional accessory to cut major costs from the process.

Before getting to the Canvas application, you must understand Occipital’s 3D camera accessory the Structure Sensor. We previously reported in late September on Occipital’s VR dev kit which includes an accessory that enables mobile room-scale VR. The Structure Sensor has two cameras similar to Microsoft’s Kinect and can create 3D models of rooms and objects at a high resolution for various things including 3D printing. Canvas is tapping that specific functionality so users can measure and scan 3D models of their homes. Guided by the app you sweep the sensor and your iPad around rooms, “painting” as you go so you see what areas you’ve already done and what parts you’ve missed. In app, you’re treated to a full 3D scan with accurate measurements in between spaces. Utilizing the data the app produces, users can plan out large remodeling projects. For a fee, the scan can even be exported into a CAD file for use in the professional AutoCAD program for design purposes.

While the Structure Sensor is a $380 accessory, it cuts into an ordeal that would typically cost a great deal of time and money. If you were to complete the measurements by hand, it’d take hours upon hours and you’d be left without the CAD file, which only costs $29 per room. If you contract the work out, that would roughly cost a couple thousand dollars so that’s a significant discount. Canvas is the first application Occipital has developed for the Structure Sensor, but this program is telling of the wealth of potential such a tool offers.

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