The iPad Pro is an excellent gadget, but one of its features is often overlooked by its users: the LiDAR scanner (acronym for Light Detection And Ranging). It is a sensor that uses measurement of reflected light properties to obtain information about analyzed objects and surfaces – a very specific technology that is rarely shipped in consumer devices for the general public.
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However, youtuber Shane Wighton of the Stuff Made Here channel showed how useful such a scanner can be. He built equipment that uses an iPad Pro to make life easier for the visually impaired, using the LiDAR sensor to identify obstacles and alert the user through a stick with retractable pins. When walking towards a barrier, the stick projects or retracts the pins to guide the individual to change their trajectory.
The “magic” occurs thanks to software created specifically for this purpose, which creates a kind of heat map based on shadows and lights on the surface of objects and communicates in real time with the stick (responsible for transforming all this data tactile feedback).
In the explanatory video of the invention, Wighton points out that, for now, the accuracy of the device is not as great as that of a Braille device, but it may be adapted for this purpose in the future. The project as a whole is somewhat rudimentary, but the idea is to improve it over time and – who knows – transform it into a commercial solution in the form of smart glasses, for example.