23 Oct 2020

3D Sensing Modules for Smartphone AR

Augmented Reality (AR) apps where digital content is mixed with real-life scenes have not been used extensively by most smartphone owners up until now because the experience is typically somewhat flat and unengaging.

Augmented Reality Sofa Placement

However, this is expected to change following Apple’s recent announcements at the iPhone 12 launch event. The iPhone12 Pro models will include LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. This 3D sensing technology is used to create a long-range depth map of the surroundings to realistically overlay virtual objects for next generation augmented reality applications. The long working range allows a greater number of augmented reality experiences, and we expect this to precipitate a wave of new apps from developers, creating a major new trend in the industry.

Apple’s technology is different to that used previously by other smartphone brands. The LiDAR module collects data from around six hundred points of emitted light. In addition to images from other cameras in the handset, this information is processed by the neural engine in the iPhone to simulate detailed depth data of the scene up to five metres away.

CML has also been working on long range 3D sensing. Using our patented technology, we have developed a module that collects three hundred thousand data points at a range of ten metres. No supporting information is required from other cameras to deliver the 3D experience. The high resolution of the depth map in CML’s solution removes the necessity to pass it through a neural engine, making it a simple solution to include in smartphones and other products.

By extending range from five to ten metres, augmented reality can be applied to more of the surroundings, opening up an even greater number of applications and a more realistic, immersive experience. This gives even more freedom and opportunities for apps developers.

We will be promoting our 3D sensing modules to the market shortly. If you would like to discuss this new technology with us, please make contact here.