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VCSELS Could be Next Generation of Lidar

VCSELS – Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers are being used by Apple for Face ID and more, like gesture recognition.

Diagram of VCSELS Patented by Apple

VCSELS Patented by Apple

This past December 2018 Patently Apple posted two patent reports covering inventions from Google and LG. Google’s patent win covered using a depth camera like Apple’s TrueDepth camera for gesture recognition that interprets hand gesturing commands to control features found on future Pixel phones, tablets, Chromebooks and/or slate hybrids. It will use vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs which Apple uses for Face ID and more.

The LG patent was about a 16 lens camera that could provide a superior camera experience with each lens covering a slightly different angle from the one shot. It’s also designed to allow a user to take the best body shot and mix with another head-shot to create a Photoshop type of feature.

At the end of the report I noted that as the smartphone camera wars escalate, expect to see the leading smartphone OEMs go all out to advance their respective camera systems to provide users with a lot of interesting choices. One crazy off-the-chart camera idea could have the power of gaining a switcher from one brand to another.

Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to improving depth cameras and more specifically to opto-electronic devices, and particularly to light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors.

Earlier this year a company by the name of TriLumina developed lower costs for reliable LiDAR systems with VCSELs that could be used in mixed reality headsets, 3D sensing applications, gesture recognition systems, gaming, robotics and automotive as their graphic below reveals.

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