Does Canvas still support Structure Sensor (original or Mark II)?

The Short Answer

A LiDAR-enabled iPhone Pro or iPad Pro is now the primary recommended device for anyone new to Canvas. You can see compatible devices here

If you already own a Structure Sensor (original or Mark II), Canvas will continue to work with your sensor, and you do not need to switch. There is no observed difference in accuracy between Apple’s LiDAR sensor and Structure Sensor, and the results you can achieve with Scan To CAD will be fairly comparable. 

That said, existing Structure Sensor owners may find a LiDAR-enabled device more convenient for the following reasons:

  • No extra hardware to carry around
  • No calibration required before use
  • Easier to scan larger areas 
  • Longer range (5m vs. 3.5m)
  • Greater compatibility with third-party protective cases

You may prefer Structure Sensor Mark II if you are also planning to use Structure Sensor for object scanning, or if you are planning to develop your own apps with the Structure SDK. However, for most customers who wish to 3D scan spaces and create CAD models, drawings, or extract measurements, we recommend a LiDAR-enabled device for the simplest, most seamless possible experience. 

If you're an existing Structure Sensor owner interested in switching to a LiDAR-enabled device, please reach out to support@canvas.io to learn about exchange options. 

The Long Answer

Until June 2020, Canvas could only be used with a Structure Sensor, a 3D sensor attachment for mobile devices made by the same parent company, Occipital. For the very first time, Structure Sensor gave mobile devices like iPads the ability to measure depth directly, and it's what allowed Canvas to create scale-accurate 3D scans and CAD models. 

In March 2020, Apple launched a new set of iPad Pros with a depth sensor embedded into the device itself. This sensor functions slightly differently than Structure Sensor, but after exhaustive testing and review by our engineering team, we determined that we can deliver comparable or better results with the LiDAR sensor for the target uses of Canvas. We launched full support for LiDAR-enabled iOS devices in June 2020, and it was also introduced in the Structure SDK.  

Over time, we found that our customers agreed that it was a huge step forward in ease of use — there was no extra hardware, no calibration, and they could simply download Canvas and start scanning. As of October 29, 2020, we have discontinued the sale of Structure Sensor on the Canvas website, and are encouraging customers to purchase a supported LiDAR-enabled device if they do not already have one. If you already have a sensor, your use will remain unimpeded, and you can continue getting support from our team on any questions or technical issues you may run into. However, if you are interested in switching to a LiDAR-enabled device, drop us a line at support@canvas.io to learn about exchange options.