Forget the iPhone 8’s rumored front-facing 3D scanner, as a rear 3D laser system brings the ‘real action’

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Sources close to the same business publication that went pretty in depth into Apple’s purported “sense of panic” regarding iPhone 8 execution of several paramount features and technologies yesterday are already back to discuss yet another potentially groundbreaking but tricky to implement mobile device component.

While this is hardly the first time we’re hearing whispers of advanced AR experiences, largely powered by a so-called 3D laser system, most previous rumors tackled a front-facing element. But that’s not the truly game-changing part, merely enabling “3D selfie effects” and a type of speedy, secure, convenient facial recognition that may replace fingerprint authentication rather than complementing it.

The rear-mounted 3D laser setup Fast Company shines a spotlight on today would be aimed at both improving depth detection for augmented reality apps and autofocus accuracy in day-to-day photographs.

Now, it’s no big secret that iOS 11 brings Cupertino into the AR-experimenting fold, with a “new framework” allowing developers to “easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad.”

A VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) add-on could facilitate the iPhone 8 to squeeze the best out of the ARKit already, calculating the distance the light travels from the laser to the target and back to the sensor, generating a Time of Flight measurement. Long story short, it’s the next (first?) big step for mobile-powered augmented reality tech, also reducing the wait until those mystery smartglasses arrive to give Microsoft’s HoloLens a run for its (mainstream) money.

Don’t disregard the laser autofocus rear camera component either, which has the potential to greatly enhance shooting speed and precision on the iPhone 8… or its 2018 sequel, if Apple’s “hard work” doesn’t pay off by September 2017.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).