What is LiDAR scanner used in iPhone 12 Pro camera

LiDAR in iPHONE 12 - StepPhase

What is LiDAR scanner or LiDAR Sensor? After arriving at the iPad Pro a few months ago, the LiDAR measurement system lands on the iPhone 12 Pro with the aim of promoting augmented reality.

One of the most important novelties that Apple has added to the Pro versions of its new iPhones is LiDAR. This sensor was installed for the first time in a device of the brand with the iPad Pro 2020, launched a few months ago, in order to boost the entire ecosystem of augmented reality applications of the Californian brand.

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max take advantage of the combination of the new A14 Bionic processor with the LiDAR sensor to provide an unprecedented augmented reality experience on a smartphone. But what is LiDAR sensor technology and what is it for? 

At the presentation event, we could see how Apple applied it to different guilds and at the same time enhanced the experience of some video games. Thus becoming an essential tool in the day-to-day life of some people with very specific work needs; although the limit will only be set by application developers.

What is LiDAR Scanner?

LiDAR scanner technology is a system that also allows the precise measurement of distances by emitting pulses of light (invisible to the human eye). It fires a pulse of light, measures the time it takes for the iPhone to bounce, and sends it to a processor. There the data of a point cloud generated from the different shots made by the LiDAR are interpreted to know exactly the distance to a plane or object. All this process is carried out in “nanoseconds”, according to the company itself.

LiDAR scanner in iPhone 12

This is not new in the field of advanced security or industrial applications. For example, Volvo uses a system similar to Apple in some versions of its cars to identify obstacles. LiDAR scanner is one of the bedside sensors of some space exploration vehicles

That has to travel on surfaces such as the planet Mars or in an autonomous lawnmower to measure distances.

LiDAR applications on iPhone - StepPhase

What is truly revolutionary is the implementation in technological devices to use. First on the iPad Pro 2020 and now on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. Without forgetting all the software that Apple will have had to develop to get the most out of it.

Why a LiDAR Sensor?

The use of LiDAR in the camera set is one of the aspects where Apple has placed more emphasis. Thanks to this sensor, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will be able to take better photos in environments with very low light, significantly reducing the autofocus 6x times faster and shoot in these conditions.

LiDAR generated point model - StepPhase

One of the examples that Apple provided in the presentation of the iPad Pro last March is the application in the health sector. A physical therapist can follow the progress of his patient thanks to the Complete Anatomy application. Using the enhancements of ARKit and the LiDAR it is able to carry out a mobility assessment. For example, it can be very useful for elite athletes where every aspect is controlled to the millimeter. Also from an injury recovery point of view.

Physiotherapeutic application using LiDAR - StepPhase

The guild of interior decorators and architects will be able to use LiDAR to make 3D plans of houses. The software behind it is being developed by Siemens based on Parasolid, its particular CAD tool for professionals. The plans will then be editable to simulate reforms and, back home, we can see how it would look if we finally do the work.

LiDAR Applications

Following this same line, IKEA will also launch its application to take advantage of LiDAR. Specifically, we can furnish a complete room with your furniture and see how they look before buying and installing. A really good initiative to not be with the meter measuring and counting.

The use of the LiDAR sensor with ARKit is also only limited by the imagination of the developers. We do not yet know what the future will hold, although surely many companies are already thinking about hundreds of applications. Mainly those who work with 3D projects such as car manufacturers or any industrial engineer with installation plans.

LiDAR on iPhone 12 Pro - StepPhase

The advantage that the iPad has over other similar solutions is that it has a very large mass of users. The developers look very favorably on users and companies that use the Apple ecosystem. Traditionally, they are less reluctant to scratch your pocket than their Android counterparts.

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