Apple and its Lidar scanner :
What the Apple Lidar scanner is really about? :
Apple hasn’t finished surprising us yet. In constant technological evolution, the brand is making a strong comeback with new features for the ipad pro and iphone 12. The latest arrivals now have an ultra-wide-angle camera, studio-quality microphones and a revolutionary LiDAR scanner. LiDAR for (Light Detection And Ranging) is a small matte black looking scanner located next to the camera, but an old technology.
But what is it for? The article from Sciencesetavenir tells us more the subject. “Used for many years in the fields of archaeological research, speleology etc…. the LiDAR, also simply written lidar, allows to measure the distance between a sensor and a target.“ The scanner uses a laser beam composed of multiple invisible points of light. Once the light beam has reached its target, it returns to the scanner? This allows the device to accurately measure distances.
One may therefore ask: is this similar to a Face ID? The Cnetfrance article explains the topic. “Indeed, but with a longer range. The idea is the same: Apple’s TrueDepth camera, which allows the identification of faces, projects a series of infrared lasers, but can only work at a short distance.” The lidar of the iPad Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro works up to 5 meters“. Several videos have been made to demonstrate the capabilities of this depth and 3D part capture scanner.
What are these features?
Cnetfrance explains that “Apple promises up to six times faster focusing in low light conditions for the camera. Lidar is also used to enhance the effects of the night portrait mode.“ Its long range opens up new perspectives for developers who can create a digital reproduction of a room very quickly. In addition, analyzing the environment in 3D allows Apple’s photo algorithms to detach the background from the foreground. Essential operation to apply the blur of the portrait mode – even in the most difficult conditions.
Information that third party developers could use to imagine new applications. The Geek newspaper also informs us that “At Apple and its Lidar scanner, the range of use of such a sensor will be primarily dedicated to augmented reality.” Initially, this sensor should improve the performance of ARKit, the brand’s augmented reality engine. The first field of application evoked by Apple is to allow its application “Measurements” to calculate “more quickly the size of someone (…) and to measure objects with more precision and speed. If the cases of use on a smartphone are not obvious, this technology is essential for augmented reality glasses. We will have the opportunity to zoom again on the secret project of Apple’s AR glasses.
How does lidar enhance augmented reality? :
Lidar, the Augmented Reality Accelerator for Apple?
A little reminder about augmented reality: AR combines all the interactions between the real world and virtual elements such as 3D, 2D images and geolocation. As we said, the first use of LiDAR technology is in augmented reality. The sensor provides faster and more realistic AR experiments. A crucial point for augmented reality to work optimally is to create sufficient depth and a perfectly reconstructed 3D environment. That’s exactly what this scanner is for! For example, applications that allow you to select a piece of furniture remotely by simulating its representation in the middle of your living room, for example, should be more accurate than before.
Entertainment applications will also benefit, such as Snapchat, which at the Apple conference unveiled a new filter, more advanced than the others, and reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro. 20minutes nevertheless underlines that “Apple is obviously not the first smartphone manufacturer to integrate such a sensor on its phones. Huawei and Samsung, to name but a few, have opted for “Time of Flight” sensors that behave in the same way as the LiDAR sensor to measure the distance of objects from the camera.” But with more than 10,000 augmented reality applications on the App Store, we are only at the beginning of what Apple can offer concludes the iphonesoft blog . If 2021 will be the year of virtual reality, it is highly likely that 2022 will be the year of augmented and mixed reality.