The lidar sensor for iPhone 12 Pro has a great party trick we weren’t expecting

The Measure app makes it easy to measure a person’s height, as long as you have the right device.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Apple has not only included three cameras in the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, but has also added a lidar sensor. The new feature, first seen on the iPhone, helps improve portrait mode photos and also makes it possible to take those blurred background shots in night mode. The lidar sensor, however, has another trick it can do – and it’s sure to impress your friends at your next party (when it’s safe again, of course).

Lidar stands for “light detection and range” and works by bouncing lasers off objects to measure their distance, based on the time it takes for the light to return to the sensor. The sensor itself isn’t a new technology – in fact, the 2020 iPad Pro has lidar too – and the same technology is often used in self-driving cars.

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Read more: ProRaw: See how Apple’s new iOS 14.3 trick transformed my iPhone 12 photos

Here’s a party trick I just discovered, with the help of MacRumorsand I expose some others below.

For my first trick, here’s how to use the iPhone 12 Pro’s camera to measure a person’s height in a couple of seconds (I did this with my kids and they loved it).

Really interesting stuff, right?

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1. Open the Measure app on your iPhone.

2. Point the rear view camera at a person who is standing or sitting and make sure you have your whole body, head to toe, in the frame.

3. After a second or two, a line will appear above their head with an estimate of their height, including things like their hair or a hat.

4. You can take a picture of the measurement by tapping the shutter button, saving it to the camera roll.

In my test, the measurement was accurate to within half an inch. My son’s curly hair caused his first measurement to be slightly too high, but after he combed it, he was perfect at 4 feet 7.5 inches.

I also tested it on myself and little things like the angle of my head or wearing a hat produced the same slightly short 5ft 9in reading. When I stood up, however, looking directly at the camera without a hat, it was more accurate, with a reading of 5 feet 10 inches.

You can get a rough estimate of more of a person’s height with the Measure app. You can use it to get the dimensions of a piece of furniture, for example, to see if it will go through a door. I recently measured a TV to settle a debate whether it was 55 or 65 inches (it was 65).

When the Measure app first launched with iOS 12, I explained how to use it to measure random household objects or to calculate square footage. With the addition of lidar on Apple devices, the app is becoming more accurate. So, if you’ve updated your iPhone, it’s worth giving the Measure tool another chance.

Using a third-party app, you can scan an entire room and create a 3D map.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET Want to try other fun lidar features?

The lidar sensor is not limited to simply measuring different objects. You can use it to create 3D maps of a room (as shown above) or a 3D recreation of a single object, which you can then print on a 3D printer when using an app like Polycam.

According to CNET’s Scott Stein, the Apple Arcade game Hot wash it uses the lidar sensor to scan a room, after which it could hide virtual things behind real objects in the room, such as a chair.

As more apps are updated to improve the augmented reality experience thanks to the lidar sensor, it is unknown what else we will be able to do with compatible iPhone and iPad models.

After impressing your friends and family with your iPhone 12 ($ 829 on Amazon) fun trick, be sure to check out these hidden features in iOS 14. If you’re still learning your way around the iPhone 12, here are some settings worth checking out. For example, if you don’t live in an area with 5G coverage, you can turn it off.

Through: www.cnet.com

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