iPhone can now help visually impaired users maintain social distancing

Social distancing has become new normal in order to keep oneself safe. Government bodies across countries introduced dedicated COVID-19 apps and tech companies like Google and Apple also put their tracking features to contribute in the same. Now, the latest beta version of iOS packs a new feature that can actually help visually impaired users during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The tech giant Apple brings a feature that allows visually impaired users to effectively maintain a social distance by indicating how far away other people are from them.

TechCrunch reported that the new feature measures the distance to people in the view of the iPhone's camera.

The feature comes live due to Apple's augmented reality (AR) platform for iOS devices, ARKit. The ARKit 4 application introduced a programming interface which can access the information collected by the LiDar scanner on the latest iPhone 12 series Pro models. Thus, the new feature should be available to iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max as well as iPad Pro.

The LiDAR scanner on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max measures the distance to surrounding objects. For ARKit, Apple developed a feature called "people occlusion" which detects the shape of people.

The team found that when combined with the accurate distance measurements provided by the LiDAR units on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, this tool could be of immense help for visually impaired users.

The iPhone packs several other features which are particularly useful for people with visual impairment or low vision. For example, "VoiceOver" describes exactly what is happening on your iPhone and "Magnifier" works like a digital magnifying glass.