Occipital closes $12M more as it strives to build a ‘perception engine’

Sensors are growing more and more sophisticated as we build machines that can interpret the world with more precision than we can.

Occipital is aiming to do this as effectively and cheaply as possible as it morphs its 3D scanning technology into a product that can do much, much more. The company has closed $12 million of what it plans to be a $15 million Series C. The round is being led by the Foundry Group. The company has raised about $33 million to date.

With this round, Occipital is looking to expand its tracking platform into what it calls its “Perception Engine,” which will require it making some deeper moves into machine learning, pushing into technologies that reside outside of simply defining the geometry of a space. The startup wants its tracking tech to recognize people and identify objects.

SF-based Occipital has moved around a little bit within the tracking space as it’s sought to find a worthwhile niche. The company’s $379 Structure sensor allows users to 3D scan their environment and objects using the high-frame-rate depth camera that attaches to the back of an iOS device. Occipital’s Canvas software solution allows customers to use the camera to develop more refined CAD models. The company later introduced a mixed reality dev kit that brought positional tracking to the iPhone.

The company’s latest bet is bringing quality inside-out tracking to products with its monoSLAM tech that tracks devices in space using a single camera and an IMU. Though AR/VR remains an obvious application, Occipital announced at CES that it has partnered with Misty Robotics. As its focus moves closer toward the market that Intel’s RealSense and other large companies have been aiming to capture, Occipital has its sights set higher than before with some new cash to do so.