The Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanner in the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the 2020 iPad Pro measures distances more accurately to map out three-dimensional spaces. That skill comes in handy when shooting photos at night, but it also plays a role in an array of mobile apps. With the LiDAR scanner, you can better measure yourself for clothes shopping, your home for buying new furniture, and your surroundings for imaging scanning.
Companies like Apple, Ikea, and Microsoft have apps that can measure a person’s height, position virtual 3D furniture, and identify nearby people and objects. Many other third-party apps exist in the App Store, but there are several that stand out.
Apple’s free Measure app is included on the iPhone and iPad as a virtual alternative to a physical ruler, tape measure, and level. You can measure the distance between two points, determine the dimensions of an object, and even figure out if a surface is straight.
Measure distance by positioning the center dot within the circle onto the starting point, then tap the + button. Move your device along the area you want to measure, then tap the + button again at the ending point. The total distance appears on the screen.
If you’re looking for the dimensions of a shape, such as a square or cube, record the length of one side, then double-tap the + button. Move your device along each side and double tap the + button to start the next line. Continue in this fashion until all sides are measured, then tap the + button to finish.
You can tap the bullet-point icon in the top-left corner to display the dimensions you measured on the screen. Tap the Shutter button to take a picture of the object with the dimensions visible.
To use the Measure app as a level, tap the Level icon at the bottom of the screen. You can then position your device flat, horizontally, or vertically along a surface until the screen displays 0 and turns green to indicate that you are level.
You can easily remodel and equip your home with the right furniture via the free Ikea Place app. Choose from a variety of items, including chairs, sofas, tables, desks, bookcases, and lamps. You can browse by collection, category, or theme. Just position the object into an area in your home to see how it would fit. After you’ve inserted a virtual item, you can reposition it and move it around the room. You can also add more items and save each one to redecorate whole rooms or your entire house.
Designed by Microsoft, the free Seeing AI app is geared toward helping blind and visually impaired people navigate through their environment. However, the new LiDAR-based features make the app a fascinating experience for anyone.
Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, the app can describe people, scenes, and objects that appear in the viewfinder. It can also view text on the fly and read it aloud, identify products from the barcode, and identify colors and currency.
With its LiDAR support, Seeing AI can help you feel the distance to objects based on your device’s haptic proximity sensor. And if you’re wearing headphones, the app can describe nearby objects. To use Seeing AI, just choose the option you need, point your iPhone or iPad at the right object, and the app will do the rest.
Looking for an app to scan, capture, and display an entire room? Canvas: Pocket 3D Room Scanner can handle the job. Pick the room you want to scan, then move your device around the room to cover the virtual grid displayed on the screen.
Once you have captured the entire room, the app generates a 3D image that you can view and even walk through. Take a tour of the room using gestures or by moving your iPhone or iPad. You can look at a cutaway image of the room, which you can then tilt or swivel.
The basic app is free. If you want a professional CAD image of your room for design or architectural purposes, you’ll have to pony up to $15, $29, or $39 per scan based on the complexity you require.
3D Scanner App
With the free 3D Scanner app, you can scan any object or scene to create a three-dimensional image of it on your device. To start, position your iPhone or iPad in front of the object you want to capture and tap the Shutter button. Move your device around the object to generate an image, then tap the Shutter button again when you’re done to generate the 3D object.
By default, the scan is created in low resolution, but you can switch to high resolution to better control the quality of the image. Afterwards, you can tweak the scan to refine, smooth, or simplify details. You can also measure the distance between any two points in the scan and share it as different formats.
Scaniverse – 3D Scanner can capture scenes and objects, then generate an interactive 3D image. To scan something, tap the Shutter button and move your iPhone or iPad around the object to grab different views until the shaded lines on the screen disappear. When done, you can save the scan in standard, high, or ultra format. You can then zoom in and out and move around the image to see if from different distances and angles. The scan can then be shared or exported as a variety of file formats.
The free Polycam – LiDAR 3D Scanner app can scan and capture specific scenes and objects, then display them as 3D images. Line up your iPhone or iPad and tap the Shutter button to start. Move your device to completely scan the object. Tap the Shutter button again when done and select Process to generate the image. You can then crop the image, measure the distance between two points, and share the image using a host of different file formats.
This app provides even more fun and flexibility to a LiDAR-generated playground. Using the free ARama! app, you can take a new or existing picture of a person, shape, or image and place it as a virtual image in a real environment.
For a person or a shape, tap the appropriate button, line up the subject in your device’s viewfinder and tap within the white lines to copy it. Move to the spot where you wish to place the item and tap the onscreen button to paste it.
For an existing image, tap the button to access your photo library, choose the image, and then paste it into your real environment. You can place multiple people, objects, and images as virtual items all in the same scene.
Here’s an app that’s simple but addictive. With the free Playground AR: Physics Sandbox, you place virtual blocks in a real environment to see how they interact with each other. You can choose cubes, rectangles, triangles, cylinders, cue balls, and model cars, then tap a button to put each item on a floor, table, or other surface.
The fun comes in placing and moving the items. For example, you may want to place one object on top of another to see how high your tower can go until it comes crashing down. You can even move certain objects. For instance, you can drive the model car around the screen to crash into your tower of blocks. By watching an ad, you can unlock even more model objects for your current session, including a plane, helicopter, cannon, and catapult.