For a long time, Apple is working on Augmented Reality (AR) development. Apple started to prioritize on AR with the announcement of its ARKit in 2017. After that, the Cupertino giant has been progressively working on AR and developing it every year. Recently this year, the company launched its latest iPad Pro comes with a hardware component – the LiDAR sensor that enhances the AR capabilities of the device.
How LiDAR works?
LiDAR is Light Detection and Ranging technology used often in automated robots and cars to map the actual world. With the help of laser beams, the sensor works, which are being emitted into the surroundings by the projectors, and the sensor waits for the laser beam reflection to return. As the laser beam returns after reflection, the system calculates the total time each laser beam took to return to the sensor. Based on this analysis calculation, a 3D map of the actual world is made.
Now, good conventional LiDAR sensing units are as huge as the size of a fist and are actually costly. Apple, in some way, had the ability to stuff in a functional LiDAR sensing unit inside the iPhone 11-like camera module of the current iPad Pro. Now, this relocation enhances the AR abilities of the mobile phone by numerous folds.
How does traditional AR work without LiDAR System?
Traditional AR works with the help of computer vision, like in iPhones, which depends on the camera movement to analyze the surroundings. So for the proper AR functionality, careful camera movement is required for the system to recognize different surfaces. However, the LiDAR sensor works immediately without any mindful camera movements and starts to map the surroundings and creates a 3D model of the actual world instantly.
How can LiDAR enhance AR in mobile devices?
Firstly, LiDAR technology is way faster than the traditional computer vision AR, which can map the world in real-time.
Secondly, LiDAR technology is much more accurate in mapping the surroundings with details.
Thirdly, the LiDAR sensor does not need any light to capture objects from the surroundings. It uses laser beams that enable the system to obtain more details without any visible light.
With the announcement of the LiDAR sensor on this year’s iPad, it won’t be a surprise if the company does the same with their upcoming iPhone devices, as the leaks also suggest this.