My use case isn't listed here. Will Structure Sensor (Mark II) still work for me?

person staring at busy wall

Every use case imaginable would be impossible to list here; however, that doesn't mean you can't determine if Structure Sensor (Mark II) will work for you. Essentially, you need to answer a few questions.

  1. What is the size of the object you are hoping to scan?
  2. What is its color and reflectivity?
  3. What level of precision do you need?
  4. Does it move?
  5. What is your environment?

Common but Inappropriate Use Cases

The following is a list of the most commonly asked about use cases that will not work with Structure Sensor (Mark II):

  • Dentistry/teeth
  • AR/VR/XR
  • Extreme precision
  • Botany
  • Small hardware
  • Small figurines
  • 2D metal sheets
  • Tombstone engraving scanning
  • Tire PSI information scanning
  • Jewelry
  • Coins
  • Animals
  • Underwater
  • Extreme temperatures

What is the size of the object you are hoping to scan?

The smallest item that can be successfully 3D scanned with Structure Sensor is about the size of an adult human head (keep in mind, however, that much finer details within a model will still be captured).

The largest item that can be captured with currently available apps would be a residential medium to large sized room, such as a bedroom or a dining room.

As a rule, object scanning is limited to the bounding box of your software. While bounding boxes can be expanded fairly large, the resolution of the scan within that bounding box will decrease.

This means that scanning objects with an extreme bounding box size (like a truck, for example), requires a different strategy.

You have two options to capture this scan: stitching together several scans, or using Canvas in an experimental fashion.

Stitching Scans Together

The first option requires you to capture your intended object in multiple scans. You will need to mentally create a 3D-grid of your object and scan each section of the grid as fully as possible.

Once all of the scans are captured, you will need to import the resulting meshes into applications like Blender or MeshLab and combine them together. For a tutorial on how to do this, please check out this video:  https://youtu.be/YLoKjR8H-JQ

Using Canvas Experimentally

If you would rather capture your object with a single scan, you can potentially do so by using Canvas. While Canvas is intended as a room scanning app for architects, contractors, and interior designers, it allows for high-resolution scanning without the use of a bounding box. As such, it offers the potential to scan large objects in a single mesh.

Please note: this is an experimental use of Canvas, and as such, we do not guarantee results; nor will Canvas's Scan To CAD service work with your resulting mesh.

First, position your object so you have 360-degree access. Begin your scan, scanning your object with a paintbrush-like motion, not covering the same area twice. Work your way around your object until you complete your scan.

You will then need to perform a sort of self-Scan To CAD to retrieve the resulting mesh. To do so, please check out this article:  https://support.canvas.io/article/33-can-i-do-scan-to-cad-myself


What is its color and reflectivity?

Black objects and reflective objects pose a particular difficulty for our sensors.

In order to capture depth, our sensors project an IR speckle pattern to the object the user intends to scan. This pattern distorts around the object, the depth is calculated by this distortion. For a more in-depth explanation of how our sensors work, please check out this video.


Black objects absorb the IR lasers, causing the objects to “disappear”.

Reflective objects scatter the IR lasers in an erratic fashion, causing the sensor to lose tracking and producing random artifacts.

Some users have mitigated these problems by applying a temporary paint or powder to the objects in question assist the sensor in capturing depth information.


What level of precision do you need?

The precision of Structure Sensor (Mark II) can be found on this chart. However, if you’re trying to scan 3D objects or track motion paths, the quality of results will vary widely depending on software used. Make sure you’re using the latest Structure SDK and have tried a variety of different apps to gauge precision and accuracy of results achievable.

We are still collecting data and running case studies but, from what we have seen working with professionals in the field is that, most measurements are within 1-2% when verified against a manual tape measure or existing blueprints.

You can find more of the technical specification of the Structure Sensor on the following page:  https://support.structure.io/article/367-what-is-the-difference-between-structure-sensor-and-structure-sensor-mark-ii

Still not sure? Take a look at some of the sample files in our Sketchfab.


Does it move?

Our sensors and SDK requires objects be static. We do not support dynamic object scanning at this time.


What is your environment?

Structure Sensor (Mark II) can work both indoors and outdoors, but you need to make sure you are using the correct preset. This is available in Scanner; however, if you wish to use this preset in other apps, you will need to develop your own. 

Structure Sensor (Mark II) has been tested and rated under the following conditions:

Operating Temperature 0 to 35 °C
Storage Temperature -20 to 45 °C
Relative Humidity 5% to 95% non-condensing
Maximum Altitude 10,000 feet (3,000 m)
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