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spatial sensing

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Spatial sensing is the detection, measuring and analysis of an environment's space and objects in real-time for the purposes of mapping them. 

Spatial sensing is used in in security and military applications, roboticsremote sensing and monitoring and entertainment products like XBox Kinect and 360-degree VR systems.

Satellites may be equipped with many types of sensors and lasers, as well as processing and communications hardware. Some satellites may perform spatial sensing to create accurate topographical cartography with technology like Lidar.

The hardware for many 360-degree VR sets features infrared sensors and lights, cameras, gyroscopes and accelerometers. These may be processed by an external computer's CPU and software or through built-in processing by an integrated CPU in a virtual reality headset.

In the case of Microsoft's VR offering, HoloLens a specialized HPU (holographic processing unit) is responsible for the processing that integrates real world and holographic data.

Another less common technology for spatial sensing is the use of echolocation. Common to bats, it is a more foreign concept to humans. Howewver, it offers higher accuracy and is not limited to line of sight as many technologies are.

This was last updated in October 2015

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