19 Mar 2020

Apple Debuts New 3D Sensing Technology

Yesterday Apple announced their new iPad Pro tablet which features what is described as a LiDAR scanner. This marks the debut of a new 3D sensing technology on Apple products and its key application will be for Augmented Reality (AR). Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously commented on the impact of AR, saying it will change lives and be the most significant event for Apple since the launch of the App Store.

Apple AR Use Case

In order to maximise the number of applications and deliver an immersive experience, the working range of 3D sensing systems should be as large as possible. Systems using Indirect Time of Flight (iToF) technology have shipped in Android smartphones for some time, but their practical working range is only around two metres. This has limited their use to camera enhancements such as portrait photo background blurring. Apple advise their Direct Time of Flight (dToF) technology has a useful range of five metres. Their website explains how AR can be transformative to shopping, working, travel, gaming and education.

To unlock the broadest range of AR user experiences, accurately measuring depth of ten metres or more is necessary. All technologies in use today compromise system resolution and performance when increasing range. However, CML has developed technology combining optical components, actuators and software to increase working range to ten metres and more without any compromise to measurement resolution or performance. This gives a best of both worlds solution targeted at smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

CML’s 3D sensing enhancement technology is available to licence now. We are working with our global partners, including major device brands and their supply chains, to bring the most engaging and immersive next generation AR experiences to consumers.