by jontwigge on 18 July, 2017
The rumours are about that the next generation of mobile phones may have lasers to measure distances. Primarily aimed at helping the phones to support the emerging new technology of Augmented Reality, or AR, these lasers could also potentially enable phones to measure the speed that objects around them are moving at.
Augmented Reality allows a phone or tablet to show the picture from its camera on its screen and to insert computer generated objects into the picture so that they look like they are in the original scene. The addition of lasers to a phone would allow a model of the world to be built much more accurately. Then the computer generated objects could be placed much more realistically into scenes.
The image above is taken from a demo video at http://armeasure.com/, a new virtual tape measure app, that will be available soon, that shows the power of virtual reality, even without lasers.
With lasers there is no reason that a mobile phone could not be used to accurately measure the speed of objects at the same time as taking their picture.
It would take some time, technically and legally, but imagine the public being able to accurately report speeding drivers using a simple mobile phone app ! I have written to Tim Cook, head of Apple, to suggest the idea. He very rarely responds to emails but if they implemented this it could help us finally take back control of speeding on our roads.
Speed is one of the major factors in both the number and severity of accidents, injuries and deaths on our roads.
After discussing this informally with a local police officer they noted that for reports from phones to be used as evidence the law would need to be changed. Apparently there are very rigorous checks on the devices used by the police to measure the speed of vehicles, for very good reasons, and they have to be carried out both before and after sessions.
On the other hand, discussing the merits of this type of app with colleagues, allowing the public (and councillors!) to measure the speed of vehicles even reasonably accurately would enable the tracking of problem areas much more effectively. This would allow us to deploy police resources a lot more effectively.