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Pmd time-of-flight tech wins Frost and Sullivan award

Pmd Technologies has won an innovation award for its time-of-flight (ToF) technology from market research firm Frost & Sullivan. Pmd’s ToF solution comprises its suppression of background illumination (SBI) technology that distinguishes between the system’s transmitted light and ambient light such as sunlight.

Time-of-flight sensing, a 3D imaging technology, has uses in machine vision, with companies including Basler and Odos Imaging offering products in this area.

The on-board application processing feature sets Pmd's ToF technology apart from peer solutions, according to Frost & Sullivan, as it helps ToF sensors capture depth images without the use of a separate application processing unit.

‘By enabling intelligent processing of ToF images on a single chip, Pmd is able to deliver an extremely efficient and high-resolution ToF system, in which the illuminator and the image sensor can be placed as close as possible,’ said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Karthik Vishal Lakshmanan. ‘This gives ToF chips an extremely small form factor for easy deployment in smartphones and tablets.’

The principle behind time-of-flight imaging is measuring the time taken for a pulse of light scattering off objects in the scene to return to a sensor, thereby giving depth information. The technique suffers from interference from ambient light, especially in bright sunlight, which makes Pmd’s SBI technology crucial for the system’s accuracy.

Pmd’s ToF technology does not require an external application processor, meaning it doesn’t consume much power. Scalability, as well as the small size of Pmd's ToF chip, makes it ideal for use in advanced ToF-based 3D cameras. It will be useful later this year in smartphones and tablets, according to Frost & Sullivan. The technology can also have applications in augmented and virtual reality systems, and in in-vehicle warning systems.

Furthermore, the resolution of the ToF solution is highly scalable. The entire chip can be tuned to a sensitivity of one or a few pixels, up to its full capacity of 100K pixels. The ToF system can be easily tuned to any pixel value in between through software control.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents the award to a company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing new technologies.

Related articles:

Basler presents time-of-flight camera at Control

Imaging in depth - 3D imaging is gaining importance in machine vision, but it is the consumer markets where a lot of the technology development is taking place, as Tom Eddershaw finds out

Further information:

Pmd Technologies

Frost & Sullivan


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