The coolest thing I've seen at CES 2014 so far has been Structure, an infrared sensor bar built for iPad which lets users scan real-world objects and have them translated into 3D virtual objects that you can manipulate elsewhere. Use cases here can range from the obvious, like 3D printing, to more mainstream tasks like scanning a room so you can check for furniture dimensions later with a true-to-scale layout, and augmented reality gaming. The AR gaming mechanic holds a lot of potential, since any object in the real world stands to be a 3D puzzle piece, a chunk of cover against enemy fire, or any number of potential in-game entities.
Structure isn't entirely new, having succeeded wonderfully on Kickstarter at the end of October, but the technology remains as interesting and impressive as ever, especially when you see it in person. With the added dimension of depth awareness, maybe augmented reality in its multiple forms will actually take off. Plus, the scanning capabilities makes getting involved with 3D printing easier than ever. Once (or if) the app ecosystem matures, it's easy to imagine hardware manufacturers getting interested in integrating a sensor like this, much like HP has Leap Motion, but even in its current state, I think Structure could be practical and sell just fine to the right crowd as an iPad accessory.
Anyone interested can pre-order a Structure sensor for iPad for $349, with an expected launch date of this spring. What would you guys use something like this for? The show hasn't killed us yet somehow, so be sure to follow our latest stories on the #CESlive coverage hub.