Apps for Architects: This New iPad App Allows Users to Make Instant 3D Scans of Any Room

“Contracting the work would cost close to $2,000, while Occipital charges $29 per room for the ‘Scan to CAD’ feature.”

Pat Finn Pat Finn

The tablet is one of those devices that continues to surprise us. Each year, new apps are released that transform how we use this most ubiquitous of electronic accessories.

Canvas, a new iOS 3D scanning app created by Occipital, is one such game-changing app. The app is designed to work with an earlier product released by Occipital, a sensor that connects to the iPad named Structure. This 3D scanner, which connects to the iPad through the lightning port, uses infrared technology to make 3D scans both of spaces and individual objects.

Viewing on mobile? Click here.

The Structure sensor has been around for a while but has never been as usable as it is now, after the release of Canvas. This app turns your 3D scans into a readily usable 3D map. As you move the sensor around the room, the app’s visual interface guides you, generating paint-like splotches to highlight areas that you missed. When scanning is complete, an interactive 3D model appears instantaneously, ready to be explored and manipulated.

Structure is capable of generating thousands of measurements per second. These become especially useful if you use the “Scan to CAD” feature, which allows you to send your raw scan to Occipital. For a fee of $29 per room, the company converts it into a full-color CAD file complete with easy-to-read measurements that cover every single nook and cranny of the space. The days of the tape measurer are numbered.

The Structure sensor links to the iPad through the lightning port; via

The revolutionary quality of Canvas really becomes apparent when you start to look at pricing and labor time. “Scanning an eight-room home takes about 30 minutes with Structure, while manual measurements would run around seven hours,” writes Tim Moynihan of Wired, citing estimations related to him by Occipital co-founder Jeff Powers. “Contracting the work would cost close to $2,000, while Occipital charges $29 per room for the ‘Scan to CAD’ feature.”

Whether you are a contractor, architect or just a fan of nifty gadgets, Canvas promises convenience and fun.

Cover image via Wired

Pat Finn Author: Pat Finn
Pat Finn is a high school English teacher and a freelance writer on art, architecture, and film. He believes, with Orwell, that "good prose is like a windowpane," but his study of architecture has shown him that a window is only as good as the landscape it looks out on. Pat is based in the New York metro area.
Read more articles by Pat

10 Reasons Architects Should Play More Video Games

Have you ever considered that playing video games could hold the same benefits as painting, sketchin g and sculpting?

Fluid Concrete: Winner of Tile Design Competition Shows the Softer Side of Concrete

One of the most beloved materials of many an architect, concrete is also a favorite from the interio rs standpoint, too, whether poured for the floors or molded into decorative objects. So it comes as no surprise that the architectural, dimensional and sometimes intricate concrete tiles by Kaza Concrete would be a hit with the A&D…