Geo Week News

December 12, 2018

The $399 Occipital Structure Core is a 3D sensor for robotics, UAVs, and more


In 2013, Occipital released the Structure 3D sensor, which attaches to an iPad, so that it could enable its own in-house computer vision work. The following years saw the growth of a developer community, and the company says that there are currently over 120 apps publicly available for the sensor, as well as over 100,000 sensors sold. Last month, Occipital announced the next step: Structure Core.

Structure Core is a new sensor designed to bring depth and motion sensing to technologies like robots, drones, and AR/VR headsets. That means developers no longer limited to iOS if they want to use an Occipital sensor, and the Core supports Windows and Linux.

Maybe taking a cue from the UAV market, which is hot for integrating sensor payloads, Occipital gave the Core an all-in-one design. That includes an on-board NU3000 processor chip for computing depth values and processing the digital signal, an on-board IMU for tracking motion, an ultrawide camera with 160° FOV, and stereo infrared cameras for depth-sensing.

The dual infrared setup brings some important improvements to the 3D sensing. Occipital specs the Structure Core for 60FPS capture, at a 70° FOC, and 1280×960 depth resolution, with an effective range of 0.3 to 5 meters.

The ultra-wide 160° camera boasts a monochrome camera for tracking, with data fused to the depth information with time stamps. Occipital claims SLAM tracking or scene texturing at “up to 100 FPS.”

You will likely be happy to learn that the system also includes a global (read, not rolling) shutter for all cameras. This shutter captures the whole frame at the same time rather than in sequential lines, meaning you won’t get weird distortions when you capture a fast-moving object.

Of course, the system comes with an SDK that grants access to data from each individual sensor in your Structure Core, as well as Occipital’s Perception Engine for positional tracking.

Occipital is selling the sensors in “waves,” or a series of releases. The first release costs $599 and ships now. The next release costs $499 and ships Jan 15, 2019. The general public release costs $399 and ships in March 2019.

For more information about the sensor, see Occipital’s site here. To buy one, click through here.

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