What black technology is the lidar on the iPhone 12?

Apple iPhone 12 with Black Technology (5G)

  • Principles of 3D Perception Technology
  • Apple Lidar Interpretation
  • What is the use of lidar
  • The formation of a new technological battlefield
  •  Conclusion : iPhone 12

The arrival of Apple iPhone 12 not only complements the shortcomings of 5G, accelerates the application of 5nm chips, but also brings application-level innovation through the introduction of a number of advanced technologies. For example, the first introduction of the iPhone 12's lidar can not only bring more powerful photographic capabilities and AR applications on the mobile phone , but also the "eyes" of all intelligent things in the future.

Popular science: What black technology is the lidar on the iPhone 12?

The 3D vision market is completely opened

It is no exaggeration to say that machine 3D vision will become a new frontier in the future science and technology field with the explosion of smart cars in the future! On the eve of the release of the iPhone 12, let's take a look at what Lidar is a black technology.

Principles of 3D Perception Technology

At present, 3D perception technology is divided into three major schools: binocular ranging, 3D structured light, and TOF flight time. In the past, the rear camera module of the mobile phone used the binocular ranging method to obtain the 3D information of the object. This method requires more than two cameras to be called to calculate the depth information of the object through the visual difference, which consumes a lot of power and computing resources, and the accuracy is low. The speed is relatively low.

After the iPhone X , Apple first launched Face ID with 3D structured light technology, and suddenly became popular with 3D vision applications. The 3D structured light technology uses infrared light to project about 30,000 dots on the object. The depth information of these dots is used to describe the 3D structure of the object. Its accuracy is high but the effective distance is very short, so it is more suitable as a front-facing payment.

TOF is the time-of-flight method. As the name suggests, the depth information is calculated by the time the light source is projected on the object. Compared with the lattice projection of 3D structured light, TOF is a uniform light source. Although the accuracy is inferior to that of 3D structured light, it is faster, longer distance, and larger. It is more suitable for 3D modeling, enhanced shooting, and AR application.

Apple Lidar Interpretation

In fact, when the latest iPad Pro was released, Apple introduced a LiDAR scanner (LiDAR). Of course, Apple’s lidar scanner is still a branch of the TOF technology genre. It just replaces the traditional infrared light with a flash laser mode, which allows it to obtain higher accuracy, faster speed, and stronger anti-interference. , Compared to the previous qualitative leap.

Popular science: What black technology is the lidar on the iPhone 12?

In fact, Apple’s LiDAR laser radar is more than that. Apple is the first consumer hardware company to commercialize DTOF technology. Here we need to interpret the differences between the two branches of iTOF and DTOF. Simply put, the iTOF solution is commonly used in mainstream mobile phones, while the Apple LiDAR is DTOF. The accuracy of the former is at the centimeter level, while the latter is at the millimeter level.

The iPad Pro introduced LiDAR lidar because Apple defined it as an entertainment tool as a productivity tool, because high-precision 3D modeling capabilities have great commercial value in many fields. And this time Apple has decentralized LiDAR lidar to the iPhone 12 Pro. Obviously, Apple has fully understood this technology and gave the iPhone higher application value.

What is the use of lidar

The most direct use of the iPhone 12's introduction of LiDAR lidar is obviously to enhance the capabilities of shooting and AR applications. Among them, the most profitable thing in our daily applications is the improvement of shooting capabilities. LiDAR laser radar solves the focusing part of shooting, not only the accuracy of focusing is higher, but also the focusing is completed in completely dark places.

Popular science: What black technology is the lidar on the iPhone 12?

Precise focusing not only allows you to get a clear and sharp photo, but also can use the powerful 3D vision capabilities of LiDAR lidar to peel the characters out of the environment with higher precision, and use algorithms to synthesize multiple images in the camera. So as to form a photo more in line with the real optical characteristics, comparable to the shooting effect of a SLR camera.

In the AR part, the higher precision 3D modeling capabilities brought by LiDAR lidar undoubtedly played a key role in strengthening AR applications. It is reported that the virtual and real occlusion effect that can be achieved by LiDAR lidar has reached the point where it is almost impossible to distinguish between true and false, and the objects virtualized by AR have been highly integrated into the real scene.

The formation of a new technological battlefield

With just a mobile phone, real estate agents can instantly complete house modeling, and cooperate with VR to realize remote 3D real-view house viewing. The lidar sweeping robot can distinguish the 3D shape of objects and avoid the embarrassment of "feces coating the wall" by bypassing pet feces. These are just tricks of 3D lidar, and the value of future robotics, autonomous driving, industrial automation and other fields is immeasurable.

As for the blue ocean of smart cars and even the Internet of Everything in the future, I don’t need to repeat it. Regrettably, since the moment Apple iPhone X was released, we have actually started late in the field of 3D perception. In fact, US technology giants such as Apple and Microsoft currently monopolize a large number of related technology patents, and new technical barriers are being formed.

However, as an emerging technology, 3D perception still has opportunities to catch up. For example, Huawei has a huge R&D investment in the field of 3D perception. Huawei Mate or P series flagship models are equipped with 3D deep-sensing camera technology. In addition, Huawei recently announced that it has joined the lidar warfare and will deploy the future smart car industry. Domestic supporting enterprises are also growing rapidly, and an industrial chain is taking shape.


If you compare the chip to the human brain, then 3D perception is as important as the eyes. On the new track of 3D perception, the American technology giants headed by Apple once again succeeded in the race. Only by working harder to catch up can we avoid the formation of technical barriers again.

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