A new product from computer vision startup Occipital could be a big help for companies and creators building new kinds of depth-sensing devices, like robots or mixed reality headsets that blur the line between VR and AR.
The $400 self-contained Structure Core is slated to ship in March — though the gadget is available earlier in limited supply for a higher price. The device is an evolution of an earlier pre-production unit offered as a developer kit. The new Structure Core is “a fully enclosed and self-contained sensor” with “a machined, anodized aluminum case; a bandpass-filtering glass front; and built-in attachment points for easy integration.”
Structure Core is available with one of two kinds of cameras integrated into it depending on the use case, either “a built-in ultra-wide visible camera with a 160° diagonal FOV for robust tracking or an 85° FOV RGB camera for color imagery or registered RGBD (color+depth) images.” Software for the new unit has also been updated to support a wider variety of use cases, including robot mapping and navigation.
In 2013, Occipital crowdfunded the Structure Sensor on Kickstarter, adding depth-sensing capabilities to the iPad long before Apple released ARKit. Even though ARKit does a pretty good job of understanding the world around an iPhone or iPad, the Structure Sensor is still available “for those who need a ready-to-use, high-quality depth sensor primarily for iOS devices.” In contrast, the new Structure Core “will be focused for those who need high-performance depth sensing designed for rapid integration into other types of products and on other platforms such as Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows.”