More in

FlightSense 3D sensor augments imaging capabilities

1 min read

STMicroelectronics has developed a new family of high-resolution Time-of-Flight sensors that bring advanced 3D depth imaging to smartphones and a range of other devices.

The 3D family debuts with the VD55H1. This sensor maps three-dimensional surfaces by measuring the distance to over half a million points. Objects can be detected up to five meters from the sensor, and even further with patterned illumination.

The VD55H1 has been designed to address emerging AR/VR market use cases including room mapping, gaming, and 3D avatars. In smartphones, the sensor enhances the performance of camera-system features including bokeh effect, multi-camera selection, and video segmentation.

Face-authentication security is also improved with higher resolution and more accurate 3D images to protect phone unlocking, mobile payment, and any smart system involving secure transactions and access control. In robotics, the VD55H1 provides high-fidelity 3D scene mapping for all target distances to enable new and more powerful capabilities.

“The VD55H1 3D depth sensor complements our full range of depth sensing technologies,” said Eric Aussedat, ST’s Executive VP, Imaging Sub-Group General Manager. “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 time-of-flight (iToF) sensors, such as VD55H1, calculate the distance to objects by measuring the phase shift between the reflected signal and the emitted signal. 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 VD55H1’s pixel architecture and fabrication process leverage in-house 40nm stacked wafer technology, and ensures low power consumption, low noise, and optimised die area. The die contains 75% more pixels than existing VGA sensors, within a smaller die size.

Volume production is scheduled for the second half of 2022.