A new 3D image sensor in the REAL3 chip family, based on Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology, makes possible the world’s smallest camera module for integration in smartphones with a footprint of less than 12 x 8 mm, including the receiving optics and VCSEL (Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) illumination.
Compared to other 3D sensor principles, such as stereoscopic light or structured light approaches, Time-of-Flight offers advantages in performance, size and power consumption of battery-operated mobile devices. Two factors provide the camera’s range and measurement accuracy: the intensity of the emitted and reflected infrared light, and the pixel sensitivity of the 3D image sensor chip. The REAL3 chip has 38,000 pixels with each pixel featuring Suppression of Background Illumination (SBI) circuitry. It is tuned to work at 940 nm infrared, making the projected light invisible and improving the outdoor performance. The IRS238xC also integrates a dedicated function to support a Laser-Class-1 safety level.
Cameras of Infineon and pmdtechnolgies are the only ToF-based depth cameras integrated in commercially available smartphones. In addition, they do not have to be re-calibrated during use.
Samples of the new Infineon 3D image sensor chip are already available. Volume production is scheduled to start in Q4 2018. Software partners like Sensible Vision Inc. and IDEMIA offer application software for user face detection and authentication. Demos with REAL3 3D image sensor chip are available.
Infineon Technologies Americas Corp., 101 N Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo, CA 90245, www.infineon.com