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Innovative Products: Canvas by Occipital

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Innovative Products: Canvas by Occipital

This innovative product brings 3D-renderings from your phone without extra attachments. 

By Annie Cebulski February 10, 2021
Canvas on iPhone
This article first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Want to impress homeowners? The free Canvas app by Occipital gives remodelers the option to come in, smartphone blazing, and instantly take room measurements and create 3D-ready scans in the app.

“Instead of pulling out a laser or a tape measure, your customer can watch you scan a room,” says Ben Petuchowski, content and marketing operations for Occipital. “It makes you look more professional and technology adept.”

Canvas by Occipital for 3D renderingIn the app, remodelers can click on each part of the room to see its measurements. They can then send the images to Canvas, and the company will send back CAD-ready, 3D files within 48 hours. The files are compatible with programs such as Revit, SketchUp, and Chief Architect. To get Canvas-created CAD files, remodelers will pay a per-square-foot fee. The images are housed in Cloud-based storage.

Laser-powered scanning

“Other scanning technologies typically involve buying a professional grade scanner that can cost between ten to fifty thousand dollars,” Petuchowski says. “This uses technology that’s already in your phone or iPad.”

What is that technology? Remodelers scan a room via the device’s LiDAR sensor inside the camera. This sensor measures how long it takes for lasers sent from the phone to bounce back Canvas by Occipital 3D scanning appand records the depth—think of how bats see at night by bouncing sound off walls. While image-based measuring is up to 95% accurate, LiDAR-based scans are accurate up to 99%.

3D scanning technology has been steadily getting cheaper as well. Roughly 10 years ago, it was only available via $50,000 tripod-based scanners. Then, LiDAR attachments arrived that worked with smart devices and came in at around $500. But now, this technology is available for free if you have a compatible phone or iPad.

Speaking of which, imagine beating Apple to the punch. Canvas designed its app to be compatible with LiDAR equipped phones before the devices were even launched. Apple used Canvas as an example in its keynote announcing the new iPhones with LiDAR sensors.

Accurate, but beginner-friendly

If a remodeler is less than tech-savvy, that’s not an issue as the scanner does not require deep technical knowledge, nor will it be impacted by overly shaky hands. If you can take a video with a phone, you can scan with Canvas, company officials say.

The app guides the person who is scanning through the process and provides feedback such as areas that are missing or if the user is going too fast. It takes just a few minutes to scan each room.

Free to scan, measure

The app is free to download, scan, and receive 3D-ready files. Technically, a remodeler could use the app just to measure quickly and keep an accurate record on a phone, or create the CAD files themselves.

Petuchowski says that one of the benefits of the free-to-scan model is the ability to scan other rooms in the house in case clients change their minds or remodelers want to upsell additional areas. Professionals can get those extra scans, keep them on the device, and pay to obtain any additional CAD files based on changes to the project’s scope.

Downside? Canvas is not yet compatible with Android, though Petuchowski says that Occipital is working on an Android version since many remodelers and home improvement pros use that system.

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