Vivo has some crazy ideas and it’s not afraid to use them. It wasn’t content to put an in-display fingerprint scanner on the Vivo X20 UD, it had to turn half the screen into one as well. Plus, it moved the front camera out of the bezel and into a motorized sliding popup. It might bring it back to the front, though, at least to make its latest innovation possible. It’s simply calling it the Vivo TOF (time of flight) 3D Sensing Technology and it’s issuing a challenge to Apple’s own tech.
Apple’s TrueDepth used in Face ID and Vivo’s TOF 3D share a lot in common, especially in how they work. As structured light implementations, they both measure the time it takes emitted light pulse to be reflected back to the sensor, hence the “time of flight” moniker. The data from this is then used to create a 3D map of an object, usually a face in this case.
The difference between the two is the accuracy and distance, or so Vivo boasts. Its TOF 3D sensing tech is able to capture 300,000 sensor points, which it points out (no pun intended) is ten times more than the leading brand. It doesn’t name names, but considering the context, it naturally means Face ID. It also boasts of being small and simple enough to be nearly invisible on smartphones. Curiously, it’s still big enough to require a bezel.
Beyond just face recognition, the sensor can also be used in other applications that will require an accurate “scan” of a real-world object. Those include mixed reality games, 3D scanning of objects for 3D printing and virtual reality, and more. This isn’t the first time Vivo revealed some new innovation, not all of which end up in its own phones. Given its recent streak, however, you might actually find this in next year’s Vivo flagship.