TikTok introduces its first AR effect that uses iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner

TikTok announced today a new augmented reality effect that is the first to use the LiDAR scanner of iPhone 12 Pro models. The effect celebrates the New Year with AR golden balloons and confetti that interact with the environment thanks to the new iPhone sensor. The announcement was made through TikTok’s official Twitter account.

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. For those unfamiliar with the technology, it emits infrared light to measure the distance of objects, which allows the device to create an accurate 3D map of the scene.

Developers have access to APIs that enable integration between the LiDAR scanner and third-party apps, and TikTok is now using the new sensor to provide advanced AR effects.

The first effect using the LiDAR scanner has an AR ball similar to the one used on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. At the end of the countdown, the effect fills the room with confetti and reflective “2021” balloons. In a demonstration video shown by TikTok, you can notice that confetti is more realistic as it is positioned correctly on the couch and the floor.

According to TikTok, the new filter is being rolled out globally with the exception of a few countries (via TechCrunch). The company also said that more effects using the LiDAR scanner will be introduced in 2021 — and of course they will all require an iPhone or iPad model with the new sensor.

However, TikTok is not the first social networking app to adopt the LiDAR scanner for such interaction. Snapchat was one of the first apps to announce support for LiDAR scanner with special AR lenses available for iPhone 12 Pro users.

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