August 16, 2017

Qualcomm is Putting a Depth Sensor on your Next Android


This week, Qualcomm announced some of the features offered by the image signal processor going onto its next-gen chip for mobile devices. One of those features: Any phones running the chip will include support different kinds of plug-and-play visual capture modules. Someday soon, in other words, you’ll be able to snap on a sensor module for iris scanning, active depth sensing, or passive depth sensing.

Of course, it’s the active depth sensor we’re interested in. Though I’ve been hoping to see solid-state lidar in a phone, the module looks like it’s based on miniaturized infrared structured light sensor. The Verge reports that the Qualcomm image processor is designed to combine this depth data with RGB data from the phone’s built-in camera to create a colorized 3D image “almost instantly.”

Whether this is the smartphone 3D sensor the industry has been waiting for for years still remains to be seen. Check out the video below for more.

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