What is the iPad Pro LiDAR Scanner? Features and functionality

Apple has unveiled two new iPad Pro models equipped with a LiDAR scanner, which will offer major improvements to ARKit and photography

The new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models are the first Apple devices to have the 3D laser system , but they probably won’t be the last. Here are all the features and functionality of the new component.

What is the LiDAR scanner?

At the most basic level, LiDAR is a time-of-flight system that shoots low-power lasers in an environment. Using reflections, calculate the distance to objects and points in the environment and create an accurate 3D depth map or rendering based on the results.

Apple’s proprietary approach, simply dubbed LiDAR Scanner, probably has a few tricks up its sleeve. The company claims that this system works both indoors and outdoors and measures the distance from surrounding objects up to 5 meters by taking a photon level and speed reading in the order of nanoseconds.

The new depth frameworks in iPadOS combine the depth points measured by the LiDAR scanner with the data sent by the two cameras and the motion sensors, also taking advantage of the computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic chip to more accurately detect the details of the scene .

What could a LiDAR scanner do?

Among Apple’s existing features, LiDAR will have the greatest impact on augmented reality (AR) and Apple’s ARKit framework. The Colossus of Cupertino says that all existing ARKit apps can automatically count on the instant positioning of AR objects and on an improved system for scanning movements and occlusion between people and virtual objects.

Using the latest ARKit update with a new Scene Geometry API, developers can harness the power in the new LiDAR scanner to explore previously unthinkable scenarios.

The LiDAR scanner also improves the Metro app : automatically calculating a person’s height is even easier and faster, and the useful vertical and lateral guides that appear automatically allow fast and accurate measurements. The Metro app now also includes a Ruler view for the most minute measurements, and allows users to save a list of all measurements with related screenshots for future use.

What does it mean for iOS 14 and iPhone 12?

The new update provides an overview of Apple’s plans. The company is expected to release four new iPhones in the second half of 2020, two of which will present a new flight time sensor that could work similarly to the new iPad. Apple is also expected to include new augmented reality features in iOS 14, including an app called ” Gobi ” which allows users to preview products in a store.

For the future, it is rumored that Apple is developing augmented reality glasses that work alongside the iPhone. The iPad Pro could be the predecessor of a whole new way of experiencing the world.

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