How Does LiDAR Work on the iPhone?


December 13, 2021
By: Natalie Perri

Apple released the iPhone 12 Pro, with the incredible Light Detection and Ranging scanner (LiDAR) on the back. But how does Apple and its users plan to use this technology? What even is LiDAR?

If you have read our posts before, you already understand what LiDAR technology is. But if you don’t LiDAR simply put is a scanning technology that determines the distance between itself and an object. It monitors how long it takes a pulse of light to bounce back. Instead of using radio waves seen in radar scanning, LiDAR uses infrared light. LiDAR typically works on smaller scales, mostly because light is often absorbed by all objects in its path. At Robotic Imaging, we utilize LiDAR technology to extract highly precise measurements to construct a point cloud for our clients.

When looking at the iPhone 12 Pro, the bouncing light is still measured to determine the ultimate distance, but works on a smaller scale. On the iPhone, it has an effective range of about 16 ft, or 5 m. Many apps designed for the iPhone are now transitioning into an augmented reality platform. By integrating LiDAR technology into the iPhone, it enables users to have a smoother experience when in AR. As said by RetailVR 'The primary use of LiDAR technology is in augmented reality. The sensor provides faster and more realistic AR experiences.'

AR has been pushed further in the previous decade to blend interactive filters on top of the real world. Pokemon Go is arguably the best and seamless AR gaming experience for users, as it captures virtual creatures in the real world. But, as this technology continues to develop, and Apple users bring LiDAR technology into their homes, one can only imagine the possibilities of LiDAR.

Robotic Imaging has been developing its own software to allow users to scan and develop their own pointclouds. More to come in the new year and be sure to stay up to date on these developments by following us on our social media platforms!

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