February 22, 2022
Global semiconductor firm STMicroelectronics (ST) has announced a new family of high-resolution Time-of-Flight sensors that bring advanced 3D depth imaging to smartphones and other devices, including consumer robots and AR/VR equipment.
The 3D family debuts with the VD55H1, a sensor that can map three-dimensional surfaces by measuring the distance to over half a million points. Objects can be detected up to five meters from the sensors, and even further with patterned illumination, ST said. The sensor addresses the AR/VR market use cases that includes room mapping, gaming, and 3D avatars. For robotics, the VD55H1 provides high-fidelity 3D scene mapping for all target distances to enable new and more powerful capabilities.
“The innovative VD55H1 3D depth sensor reinforces ST’s leadership in Time-of-Flight, and complements our full range of depth sensing technologies,” said Eric Aussedat, executive vice president of ST’s imaging sub-group. “The FlightSense portfolio now comprises direct and indirect ToF products from single-point ranging all-in-one sensors to sophisticated high-resolution 3D imagers enabling future generations of intuitive, smart, and autonomous devices.”
Indirect ToF (iToF) sensors such as VD55H1 calculate the distance to objects by measuring the phase shift between the reflected signal and the emitted signal. ST said this is a complementary technique to direct time of flight (dToF) sensors, which measure the time for transmitted signals to be reflected back to the sensor. The company said its portfolio of advanced technologies enable it to design both direct and indirect high-resolution ToF sensors, and offer optimized solutions tailored to application requirements.
The unique pixel architecture and fabrication process of the VD55H1 leverages in-house 40nm stacked wafer technology, ensuring low power consumption, low noise, and optimized die area. The die contains 75% more pixels than existing VGA sensors, within a smaller die size, ST said.
The new sensor is now available for lead customers to sample, with volume production scheduled for the second half of 2022. A reference design and complete software package is also available to help with sensor evaluation and project development, ST said.
For additional specifications and details of the VD55H1, visit the STMicroelectronics website.