Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Apple Unveils 2 iPhones with LiDAR

 Apple new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max feature LiDARs integrated in the rear camera cluster. Among other things, the LiDAR is promised to improve AF speed by 6x in low light:

6 comments:

  1. Are there any guesses who is the manufacturer of the LIDAR?

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    1. Rumours telling that ams won the race in Lidar for mobile phones.
      Anyone can confirm?

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  2. What is the difference between a flash LIDAR and TOF camera? Isn't this just marketing trying to put a <$10 toy on the same pedestal as a >$300 automotive LIDAR? I think that is quite an engineering feat to basically squeeze a Kinect into a smartphone size, weight, power and cost budget, so why compare yourself with a high end system which clearly outperforms you?

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  3. Correct to the second comment. Apple took the term "LiDAR" and applied it to this Sony SPAD dTOF system. Until now LiDAR was used by the industry for single-shot dTOF systems used in automotive that are much larger and more expensive. But there is not a standards body or licensing for "LiDAR", which technically can be used for any system that times light, including iTOF.

    So traditionally LiDAR had one meeting and Apple's marketing department just threw that out the window. And remember, any iToF phone is free to use the term as well.

    The manufacturer of the sensor is Sony. Module vendor is just one of the standard guys in Asia, maybe Foxconn, maybe LGIT. VCSEL is Lumentum. AMS is not in the system at all as far as I can tell.

    The main question is if users will pay $200 more for a low-light faster AF. I can't say that I have thrown my phone down in digust waiting for it to focus in a bar thinking "If only someone would come out with a $200 option that would fix this!"

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    1. LiDAR - "light detection and ranging". It is so generic it may be used for more than systems "that time light". Namely triangulation or interferometry. Lidar literally means distance measurement using "light". Nothing more. That is if you use the literal wording. What people may associate with it is smth else (mostly scanning dToF). Funnily enough, few people are actually using "light" in the sense of "light" being the part of the electromagnetic spectrum humans can see. Considering that there is no widely accepted standard from e.g. our friends at ISO this is bound to lead to "confusion".

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    2. Also there is no way on Earth this costs $200. I'm absolutely certain the price will be well (!) below $50 - probably more around $20

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