LG Innotek announced last Tuesday that it has kicked off the mass production of the 3D ToF (Time of Flight) sensor that will become part of the standard equipment of the top range LG G8 ThinQ, whose presentation is expected at the Mobile World Congress of Barcelona. The Korean manufacturer had already confirmed the presence of the component in the front camera of its next flagship smartphone, but the new intervention of LG Innotek allows you to know something more about the operation.
The most relevant aspect from the practical point of view concerns the possibility of exploiting the module not only as a biometric authentication tool based on face recognition – similar to the iPhone’s True Deph camera, so to speak – but also as a device based input on gestures that do not require physical interaction with the touchscreen. It is a system, which, net of the different technologies employed, recalls that many years ago Nokia first and then Microsoft wanted to achieve with the Nokia McLaren / Lumia 1030 – project never finalized. LG Innotek states in this regard:
3D sensing can be easily applied to smartphones, users can easily perform various functions without physically touching their devices. This is possible because the 3D sensing module can detect specific features and movements of the face or hands to perform certain commands, such as switching from one screen to another. In this way, it is not necessary, for example, to take off the gloves to touch the screen.
The LG Innotek 3D ToF module that will be used in the LG G8 ThinQ front camera
The 3D ToF module is able to detect the movements of an object in the surrounding space, calculating the time it takes for the infrared light projected on it to return to the sensor. Compared to other 3D technologies requires less energy and less space, it can therefore be easily used for integration in smartphones, but not only. In the press release, LG Innotek also refers to other types of products that could use the same module: PCs, wearables, domestic electronic devices and even cars (think of the possibility to control the GPS navigation system only with gestures). Moreover, among the areas of employment, virtual and augmented reality are cited.
Video teaser published by LG in late January. The tool to say goodbye to the touch will be the front camera with 3D sensor of LG G8 ThinQ
With the recent note by LG Innotek, the video teaser published by LG at the end of January assumes even more significance: the company has in fact made an appointment at MWC 2019 to say goodbye to the touch. It will be interesting to evaluate the software customizations introduced by LG to allow you to make the most of the 3D sensor as a tool to control the functions of the smartphone. The appointment with the official presentation of G8 ThinQ is scheduled for next Sunday