TikTok lets iPhone 12 Pro users “hold” confetti with an AR filter, thanks to the LiDAR scanner

TikTok introduced their first augmented reality effect filter that uses the LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology found on the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPad Pro. The filter is New Years celebration-themed, and lets virtual confetti interact with the environment around it.

The filter lets you “celebrate” the New Year all over again—with a short countdown, golden balloons and confetti. The confetti will then spread around your environment, and it can fall on multiple surfaces like the couch, your arms, your head… just like actual confetti.

According to TechCrunch, the filter is available globally, with the exception of a few select countries. TikTok also said that they plan to “develop more innovative effects in 2021”.

However, TikTok wasn’t the first app to have a LiDAR-based filter. Snapchat first used it to create a filter where flowers and grasses would grow in the room around you.

Source: Snapchat

Apple first introduced the LiDAR scanner with the 2020 iPad Pro, and then added it to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. LiDAR uses lasers that ping off objects and return to the source, measuring distance by timing the travel of the light—which means that it allows the device to create an accurate 3D map of the scene.

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Besides cool AR filters, the LiDAR sensor can be a life-saving accessibility tool for the visually impaired. Using the iPhone 12 Pro, visually impaired users are able to easily navigate their neighbourhoods, and identify things around them as they walk.


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Dzamira Dzafri