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Creating at Cline Library

Your complete how-to guide for enjoying the Cline Library's MakerLab and multimedia Studios.

Structure Sensor

The Structure Sensor 3D Scanner allows you to scan people, objects, spaces, or anything else you can imagine using the Skanect mobile 3D scanning app for the Apple iPad. You can scan by moving around the object, making sure to capture it from as many angles as possible for the most accurate scan. The Structure Sensor 3D Scanner is available for checkout by NAU and CCC students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • NAU/CCC Affiliates and Public
  • Number available: 2
  • Loan period: 3 days
  • Overdue fee: $25
  • Replacement Cost: $1,100

View Availability

Kit Components

  • Apple iPadStructure Sensor Kit
  • Structure Sensor (attached)
  • Sensor to Lightning Cord (attached)
  • Sensor Charging Cord
  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • Sensor to USB Cord
  • Lightning Cord

How To Guide

There are 4 main apps that are required during your experience using this scanner:

  • Structure – Determines distance from an object and maps the scanner’s view.
  • Skanect – Used to create a 3D-scanned model of an object.
  • Scanner - Used to create a 3D-scanned model of an object.
  • Room Capture – Used to create a 3D-scanned model of a room.

The Structure App

The Structure app includes a number of visualizations to show the raw data being captured and streamed by your Structure Sensor to your iPad. The first is the infrared feed being captured by the Structure Sensor's infrared camera. To view this feed:

  • Connect your Structure Sensor to your iPad via the included Lightning cable.
  • Log-in to your email on the iPad by entering Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Default Account
  • Open the Structure app and tap "IR" on the right hand menu.
  • Tap the light bulb icon (lower left) to turn on the infrared LEDs.

A view through the Structure Sensor's infrared camera.

The next visualization you can explore is the raw depth stream being captured by your Structure Sensor.

  • Tap the "Depth" link in the right hand menu to view the depth stream.
  • The circular target shows the distance between the Structure Sensor and objects closer than 4 meters.
  • You can move your iPad to move the target, or you can tap the screen to move the target without moving the iPad.
  • Tap the "Depth + Color" link in the right hand menu to view the depth stream with color images (image 2).

A view of the raw depth feed from the Structure Sensor.A view of the registered depth and color feeds from the Structure Sensor and the iPad.


Using the Structure App

The Structure app has an advanced feature called Uplink. Uplink lets you connect your Structure Sensor on an iPad wirelessly and in real-time to a Mac or Windows PC on the same wireless network. This allows you to stream data from the Structure Sensor to a PC running a desktop application, therefore taking advantage of the mobility of your iPad/Structure Sensor along with the greater computing power and memory of the PC.

  • The Uplink menu option will only appear when a computer running an Uplink compatible program is on the same WiFi network as your Structure Sensor/iPad combination.
  • When a PC with an Uplink-compatible program is on the same network as your iPad, you will see the Uplink option appear in the Structure app's main navigation menu. Select the Uplink option in the menu to start streaming data from your Structure Sensor to the program running on the PC.

Using the Skanect App

Skanect allows you to create, refine and share high-quality 3D models of objects and people captured with your Structure Sensor. You can learn more about Skanect on the Skanect website. If you backed us on Kickstarter and got a Structure Sensor, you should have received an email from us with your free Skanect Pro license because we hit our stretch goal!

While we won't go into detail on how to get the best quality model using Skanect (we recommend visiting Skanect's support page to watch their video tutorials for that), we will show you the basics of using Skanect in conjunction with the Structure app.

  • To begin, you need to ensure that your iPad/Structure Sensor is on the same wireless network as the Mac or PC that is running Skanect. If they are not on the same network, then Uplink will not be enabled, and the two devices will be unable to communicate with each other. Next, open Skanect on your Mac or PC, and then click the "Record" tab.

  • The "Record" tab is the second from the left. The tab will be highlighted in blue when selected, as shown at left.
  • Now, you can select the "Uplink" menu option within the Structure app on your iPad. You'll see that what is on your iPad's screen is now mirrored in the Skanect interface:

  • The image on the iPad screen to the left is mirrored in real time on the Skanect interface above.
  • Next, press the "Rec." button in the upper left hand part of your iPad's touchscreen to begin capturing an object or person in 3D. When your scan is complete, press the "Stop" button.

  • Just as before, what you see on your iPad's screen will be mirrored in real time on your Mac or PC's screen.

  • When your scan is complete and you have pressed stop, you can then manipulate and process your completed scan using Skanect. Again, we recommend viewing the video tutorials at Skanect's support page to learn how to use Skanect's processing features in detail.


Using the Scanner App

  • Position the object you wish to scan within the box that appears on the screen
  • You can adjust the size of the cube by using two fingers in a pinching motion
  • Press ‘scan’ and the scanner will begin creating a digital model of your object
  • Keep the object within the frame and move slowly around it to get the best image
  • Click ‘done’ to view your model
  • Clicking the ‘email’ link in the top right will allow you to retrieve your 3D scan, if you skip this step the scan will NOT be saved
  • Click the ‘back’ button to reset the app and start scanning again!

Using the Room Capture App

  • Stand facing the area of the room you would like to capture
  • By adjusting the slider on the bottom right, you can change the distance the scanner will receive input
  • Press ‘scan’ and the scanner will begin creating a digital model of the room
  • Slowly pan around the whole are you want to capture, until you are finished
  • Click the stop button to finish your scan and view your model
  • On this screen, you can use the various options on the top to view your model in different ways
  • You can also use the joystick on the bottom left as well as the touchscreen to move around the model
  • Clicking the ‘email’ link in the top right will allow you to retrieve your 3D scan
  • Click the ‘back’ button to reset the app and start scanning again!

Tutorial Videos