For all the Apple iPhone lovers out there, it’s time to rejoice! Augmented Reality is riding high and it looks like it will become even more popular in the coming years. Reason? During the Apple October 2020 event, the MNC giant unveiled four new variants of the iPhone 12 series. While each of them had its own new features, what grabbed our attention was the augmented reality iPhone 12 Pro for its latest addition of LiDAR Scanner. So, what’s all this LiDAR scanner and what it has to do with a smartphone or AR? Let’s dive deep.
What is LiDAR?
LiDAR is an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging, and commonly called 3D scanning or laser scanning. LiDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light waves from a laser to measure the object’s variable distance from the earth’s surface. The measurements can be used to make 3D representations or models of objects and environments.
How LiDAR works?
A LiDAR sensor fixed on an aircraft or a helicopter. The system, by sending out light waves in the form of laser pulses to the ground, measures the time taken for the light to hit the target and return back to the sensor. This measurement is called “Time of Flight” measurements. The sensor can send thousands of laser light pulses in a second, and the 3D representation of these measurements are called “point clouds”.
Applications of LiDAR
Presently, LiDAR is being adopted by many different industries. An interesting application of LiDAR is in autonomous vehicles where it creates 3D maps of the surrounding to make the driving experience safe. Meteorologists are using it to study the behaviour of clouds, in the military to create 3D high-resolution maps, agriculturalists and farmers are analysing the growing stages of crops, soil properties to predict the crop yield.
LiDAR in Apple
Apple’s LiDAR scanner comes as a step to improve, enhance the Augmented Reality technology in iPhones. So what’s AR? With AR on the phone, anybody can visualize a future environment that combines virtual and the real-world objects without the need for goggles, headsets or other special equipment. For a better understanding, imagine you are looking to revamp your interiors and not sure about the colour codes and accessories. The quick way is to use your phone camera and preview how your new space would look with the new wall colours and furniture. You can assess the size of your room, length and width of any object, and more.
There are many innovative and interesting applications of AR. One such industry that revolutionized with AR is gaming. Remember how Pokemon Go took the world by storm a few years ago.
Back to the iPhone, LiDAR scanner with its A12Z Bionic chipset will help you in three things:
- More accurate, quicker, more granular and realistic 3D scanning of a room
- Precise distance and dimension of AR object placements and comprehensive real-time motion capture, measurement of interior spaces
- Improved photo effects – 6 times faster autofocus in low light conditions enables better clicking of portrait mode photos in low light.
The data from the scanner, camera and arrays of sensors simplify the spatial maps of the environment in nanoseconds.
Where can Apple’s LiDAR be used?
The laser works at a photon level and it is suitable to use anywhere – indoor and outdoor environment up to a distance of 5 metres or over 16 feet.
Why is AR needed in your app?
The development of AR is emerging rapidly in commerce and some of its benefits are:
and their benefits are:
Boost customer experience: Whether it is in the retail sector for virtual fitting rooms, enhancing the workplace training, or for renters to see their prospective properties, AR can help make your brand viral with the social buzz it creates and also offer your customers something personalized and unique.
Make education an engaging experience: Without just being limited to mobile apps, the advent of technological applications in education is phenomenal. If you are in the industry, AR apps can make even the most boring subject interesting and fun as students get to see detailed step by step instructions of any subject. How thrilled would your medical students be if they could try their first virtual surgeries and your aspiring astronauts to venture out for their next space mission!
GPS guides for tourists: Tourism sector witnessed its fair share of loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown globally. So, what could be the best way to woo your tourists again – AR. GSP apps designed with AR features means tourists or foreigners can navigate through their ways to reach the destination with auto-translated street signs.
There are many best AR apps for the iPhone in the market to choose from.
What does the future hold?
As AR finds its greater dominance in many applications like indoor navigation in airports, Snapchat to attract a younger audience, collaborating with technicians on remote for fixing equipment repairs, and more, this industry is definitely booming. According to Business Insider, the International Data Corporation report of November 2019 states that the worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality solutions will reach $18.8 billion in 2020, a 79% increase from the $10.5 billion. Another report by IDC states AR for the consumer industry like mobile AR on smartphones and tablets is predicted to surpass $20 billion by 2021.
AR will evolve more in the coming years.