Rear-Facing 3D Laser Camera System Rumored for 2019 iPhones

Following the successful launch of its high-end and TrueDepth camera-equipped iPhone X, Apple has reportedly shifted its focus towards developing a next-generation 3D depth-sensing camera technology.

According to people familiar with the company’s plans who were cited in a Bloomberg report on Tuesday, not only will Apple’s new 3D camera tech be more advanced than the TrueDepth camera on iPhone X, but it will bring a wide range of Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities exclusively to the rear-facing camera system on all of its iPhone models due out in 2019.

“Apple is evaluating a different technology from the one it currently uses in the TrueDepth sensor system on the front of the iPhone X,” sources say, while going on to describe how Apple’s existing TrueDepth system “relies on a structured-light technique that projects a pattern of 30,000 laser dots onto a user’s face and measures the distortion to generate an accurate 3D image for authentication.” Whereas the next-generation 3D laser technology that Apple is planning for the rear-facing camera of future iPhone models will instead rely on a “time-of-flight approach,” which is designed to “calculate the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a three-dimensional picture of the environment.”

Sources went on to confirm that Apple will retain its current, Face ID-assisted TrueDepth camera on the front-side of its future iPhone models — at least for the foreseeable future, according to KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who previously noted how the iPhone-maker’s inherent technology is years ahead of its closest competition. And so this new and highly-advanced 3D laser system, which will reportedly be the “next step forward” in regards to turning iPhone into a leading AR device, will be implemented into the handset’s rear-facing camera module so as to bring these capabilities to both sides of iPhone for the first time.

What’s interesting about this report is that it would appear Apple is rushing right along with its plans, thinking way ahead into the future and, perhaps, not considering the many challenges it faced when producing its 3D camera sensors. Indeed, multiple reports have converged around the fact that Apple has had trouble manufacturing TrueDepth components from the get-go, mainly due to the precision accuracy required in their fabrication, which has resulted in much lower-than-expected yield rates.

Fortunately, sources say, while this new “time-of-flight” 3D camera technology is much more advanced than Apple’s current TrueDepth tech, it reportedly does not require the same level of precision in its procurement, which means that yield rates are likely to be much higher in comparison.

Of course, as with all rumors pertaining to Apple, we highly recommend taking this one with a grain of salt, too, especially since even Bloomberg’s sources admit the company could ultimately scrap its plans at any time.

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Laser Dog’s Lovely ‘Ava Airborne’ Is Looking for Beta Testers

Laser Dog has given us some fun games in the past, including Don’t Grind, Pktball, and Hopiko, but I think the upcoming Ava Airborne looks like it’s going to be my favorite. Ava Airborne is the story of a young girl called (you guessed it) Ava who wants nothing more in life than to fly. So, she decides to get in her shed and build all kinds of flying contraptions, which she tests by jumping off a cliff, as one would do. Her goal is to go as far as possible, avoiding all kinds of obstacles and using other ones as ways to fly farther. The game has plenty of fun contraptions, like a jetpack made from a saxophone, and charming visuals and music.

Laser Dog has been documenting the game’s development from its first moments during a train back from London to today, and it’s definitely worth following. It’s always fun to see the seed behind a game and trace how it became a playable game. Ava Airborne is looking for testers, so if you want to help Ava build her crazy contraptions and fly like a bird, head over here.


The Air Force Has Invested $26.3 Million in a High-Energy Laser for Fighter Jets

A Laser SHiELD

Having successfully equipped a ship with a laser weapon system, known as LaWS, the United States Air Force (USAF) is looking to send laser weaponry to literal new heights. The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), the USAF scientific research wing has invested $ 26.3 million dollars with Lockheed Martin to design, develop, and build a laser weapon system to place on the military branch’s fighter jets. This initiative is a part of the AFRL’s Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program.  The USAF is looking to begin tests by 2021.

A statement from Lockheed Martin weapons expert, Rob Afza, says, “We have demonstrated our ability to use directed energy to counter threats from the ground, and look forward to future tests from the air as part of the SHiELD system.”

The weapon will be a defensive tool designed to blast missiles launched from the air or the ground out of the sky, preventing them from reaching their intended target.

Limited Scope

While fundraising for futuristic weaponry may be a cakewalk for military contractors, some experts doubt the efficacy of such weapons and question whether the immense cost is worth paying. According to a report from the Strategic Culture Foundation, “Lasers are no substitute for guns and missiles. They can add to the defensive capabilities but cannot be used as primary strike weapons.” Conventional weapons exist that can perform the same tasks and cost much less than developing new laser-based weaponry.

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Other hurdles with which the new technology will have to contend include having to be able to withstand vibrations, temperatures, and G forces, all while not hindering the performance of the aircraft to which it is attached.

As seen in the LaWS system, there is still hope for these weapons to carry a benefit for future applications. Conventional missiles could cost millions of dollars to launch, while the “rounds” used by LaWS only cost about a dollar.

In an increasingly volatile climate, the ability to defend innocent human lives around the world is of vital importance to the international community. Hopefully continued scientific development will equip peacekeepers with the best technology to ensure this goal.

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