pple have recently released details of their [nofollow]new IPad Pro and this latest upgrade brings a pretty exciting new feature - the Lidar scanner. This ushers in a new wave of capabilities for Augmented Reality, but how does it work?

What is LiDar?

LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, is often utilized to generate high-resolution maps for use within things like surveying, geography and archaeology. More recently, LiDar has been used within autonomous vehicles to enable self-driving cars to detect obstacles and gauge distances using pulses of light to asses distances and locations, similar to how radar utilizes radio signal.

iPad Pro Lidar Scanner

The iPad Pro uses this LiDar technology to help deliver impressive Augmented Reality to Apple customers. The in-built LiDAR Scanner measures distances to objects up to 5 meters away and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds.

ipad lidar augmented reality
New iPad Pro with Hot Lava AR mode. Image: Apple

At Apple’s virtual preview of the new iPad Pro, they showcased some of the available and optimised AR apps for the LiDAR scanner, including the Complete Anatomy app which demonstrates in real time which muscles the person in front of you is using as they walk around, as well as a game, with a realistic main character, called Hot Lava which brings hot lava into your front room. Apple also demonstrated how existing apps like IKEA Place looked far more accurate, as your virtual room is set up instantaneously.

This technology allows the game to interact with the real world like never before, blurring the lines between the physical and virtual world.

Apple’s betting on AR

Apple is deploying some cool AR games and apps for the iPad and iPhone, but behind the scenes, Apple is setting the stage for the new technology era world where our phones will eventually disappear and be replaced by a constellation of wearable devices with the Apple Glasses at the center of that new technology era.

It’s clear that Apple is putting serious effort and investment into Augmented Reality and we can expect exciting developments in the space over the coming years. The Apple Glasses are in development and due for launch within the next year or two, which is another exciting AR push from the technology giant.

From a consumer technology point-of-view, the work done by Apple to bring AR to the fingertips of the general public is exciting to see. It seems as though critical mass for mainstream adoption is fast approaching.  

Jun 16, 2020
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