LiDAR for Second Life

If you watch detective shows on TV, every so often they will do something with LiDAR. These are generally really expensive systems that scan a crime scene and eventually produce a 3D model. Expensive in this case is like US$10k and up. There are cheaper ones in the $100 and less range for personal or hobby use. But you may already own a LiDAR system and not know it.

Professional LiDAR

If you have a newer smart device that uses facial recognition then you may have a LiDAR system. The iPhone-12 has an actual LiDAR camera/laser on the front… back?… camera away from the screen… normally used for distance measuring. It is rather low resolution but also is stronger and reaches farther.

The screen side camera facing you is used for facial recognition. It is higher resolution but not as strong… meaning far-reaching.

This tech is shown and explained in this video.

The video is demonstrating with an iPhone-12. Any newer Apple smart device using facial recognition will likely have similar tech. Augmented Reality devices do similar things with similar tech. But, not all. Some use image processing for facial recognition. The new LiDAR scans for facial recognition are more secure. The older image processing can be fooled using a printed picture. The LiDAR systems build and match a 3D image of you which cannot be faked using a 2D picture. Much safer.

Apps are popping up that allow you to use the laser based facial recognition of the device to make 3D scans. The point cloud (mesh) can be saved in various formats for use in 3D model editors. It is something handy modelers in SL.

My Galaxy S8 does not have the lasers. 🙁 Bummer. Only some Samsung devices have LiDAR. User use has been low according to Samsung and there have been no ‘killer apps’ on Android that use it. Samsung is reported to be considering dropping the tech from their phones. So, the Galaxy S21 may be the last Samsung device with LiDAR, also referred to as their 3D-TOF sensor.

Apple has included LiDAR in the last couple of product releases. The first was the iPad Pro in 2020. Later in the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The LiDAR in some of the promo material is referred to as ToF, Time of Flight. Basically, the time it takes light to go out and bounce back lets it determine the distance for making 3D point clouds/models.

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