Infineon image sensor drives latest smartphone

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The REAL3 camera sensor chip developed by Infineon at its Graz competence centre for advanced semiconductor solutions is featured in the PHAB2 Pro smartphone from Lenovo.

Combining analogue and digital signal processing with high data rates, the device integrates the pixel array, control circuitry, A/D converters and the digital high-speed interface on one chip. The development was made in co-operation with Time of Flight (ToF) specialist pmdtechnologies.

According to Lenovo, it is the first manufacturer to bring Google’s Tango technology to a consumer product. Tango allows devices to understand spatial information using the ToF principle and Infineon says it is the only supplier of image sensors that meet Google’s specifications.

“3D machine vision will drive multiple new applications both in the consumer and the automotive world,” said Jochen Hanebeck, president of Infineon’s automotive division. “The depth perception and motion tracking today implemented in Tango devices can also be applied to driver monitoring or gesture detection inside the car.”

The measuring principle involves infrared light. For each pixels, the 3D image sensor measures the time the light takes to travel from the camera to the object and back again, with each pixel detecting the brightness value of the objects. ToF technology from pmdtechnologies is said to offer the best spatial resolution and high robustness, with low current consumption and size.