Ams and Qualcomm to build 3D phone camera

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Ams and Qualcomm Technologies have announced intent to build a 3D camera for mobile phone applications, in particular biometric face authentication.

The depth sensing camera will be based on Ams’ VCSEL light sources and optical infrared pattern technology incorporating wafer-level optics, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile platforms.

The companies aim to create a reference design for a cost-attractive, active 3D stereo camera solution for Android-based mobile phones.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon board is now supported by various machine vision companies, which offer image sensors to engineers building embedded vision devices based on Snapdragon boards. Basler, for instance, provides a development kit for embedded vision consisting of a 5-megapixel Dart Bcon for MIPI camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 system-on-chip, a 96boards.org-compatible mezzanine board, and accessories such as lenses and cables.

This is a camera for the consumer market, but Ams also produces sensors for industrial vision – the company bought Cmosis in 2015 – and the technology could find its way into the machine vision sector in some form in the future.

The vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) market is expected to be worth $3.1 billion by 2022, driven in part by consumer mobile devices – Apple’s iPhone X has a VCSEL built in for face ID.

‘Qualcomm Technologies is committed to providing active depth camera solutions to our customers,’ said Keith Kressin, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies. ‘We’re excited to work with Ams on the development and commercialisation of this reference design with the goal of bringing these depth sensing solutions to consumers in the future.’

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