As the original company to bring 3D scanning to mobile devices with a killer Kickstarter campaign, Occipital is seeking to be a pioneer in the mixed reality space. Their Structure Sensor has already proven to be a powerful tool for 3D scanning, VR, and AR, but, anticipating the era of depth-sensing mobile devices, the Colorado company has unveiled a new hardware device and software stack for spatial computing at CES.
While Oculus has announced that their VR headsets will ship in March for a price of $599, those familiar with the headset know that users are left with limited movement while enjoying their VR experiences. This is because the Oculus Rift lacks external depth sensing for environmental awareness. The same is true for standard AR apps that lack the spatial computing ability to accurately map digital content over the physical world. For this reason, Occipital has developed the Structure Core 3D Sensor and the accompanying Bridge Engine.
The Structure Core 3D Sensor is an embeddable 3D sensor designed to be incorporated into anything from tablets to smartphones, robots, drones, and VR/AR headsets. It is completely customizable, including standard and premium cameras as well as processing options for a diverse set of requirements. With the Bridge Engine, the Structure Core can be used for a variety of mixed reality applications. This mixed reality engine is built on top of the Structure SDK to connect the real with the virtual and allows for room scale and larger 3D mapping, unbounded position tracking with six degrees of freedom, precise rendering to blend digital and physical worlds, and low latency.
With the Structure Core and Bridge Engine, Occipital is establishing itself as a complete provider of depth sensing hardware and software so that anyone looking to bring true spatial computing to their devices can obtain sourcing, customization, development, and optimization from one place. While the Structure Sensor is currently designed to work with later generations of iOS devices, the Structure Core and Bridge Engine can be used with Android, Linux, Windows, iOS and other platforms.
Proving to be a pioneer in the spatial computing space, a phrase they themselves coined, Occipital is pushing the 3D ecosystem even further, hoping to build a depth sensing digital world where there previously was none. However, they’re up against some pretty big names. Google and Lenovo are set to announce Project Tango tomorrow, which could mean that the first generation of 3D sensing smartphones is on its way. Last year, Intel saw its RealSense 3D camera installed into a number of devices and, this year, that number will only increase. And Microsoft will be shipping out its HoloLens this quarter.
Fortunately, their cross-platform approach will only strengthen the overall 3D ecosystem and being independent from these companies could prove to be a strength for small businesses and those that don’t wish to deal with the red tape likely associated with a giant corporation. Plus, Occipital is good at what they do!
At CES, right now, Occipital is showing off just what their Bridge Engine can do with a mixed reality demo. Makes me wish I could make it! Luckily, I just got a Structure Sensor for Christmas and hope that that demo will be available in the app store in the future.