The 20-meter flight time sensor, based on the world’s first CMOS processes, with a maximum external measurement range of 20 meters, more than five times that of existing products, will encourage the practical use of image sensors and cameras for autonomous drones and other industrial applications.
TOKYO, June 16, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Topopp (TYO: 7911), a global leader in communications, security, packaging, decorative materials and electronics solutions, and Brookman Technology, Inc. (Brookman Technology), a subsidiary of Toppan. Shizuoka University and CMOS are collaborating on the development and sale of image sensors, using a hybrid Time of Flight (ToF) method to develop a three-dimensional image sensor (3D sensor) capable of measuring distances from one to 30. meters.
The new sensor is able to measure in a range five times larger than possible with 3D sensors that use the conventional indirect ToF method. This will help improve the functionality and safety of autonomous drones and robot carriers equipped with sensors to avoid obstacles. The hybrid ToF sensor also has a unique feature to turn off ambient light, making it the world’s first A CMOS image sensor capable of measuring distances of up to 20 meters in lighting conditions of 100,000 lux, equivalent to the brightness of a mid-summer day.
Details of this new type of ToF sensor technology were presented on June 15 by Toppan, Brookman Technology and Shizuoka University at the 2022 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology & Circuits (VLSI Symposium), an international semiconductor technology conference held in Honolulu. , Hawaii, June 13-17, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The market for 3D sensors is expected to expand as smart phones and game consoles become more sophisticated and the use of autonomous robots in the industry grows. There are several types of 3D sensors based on the different principles used to detect distance. ToF sensors calculate the distance to an object by measuring the time it takes for the emitted light to reflect back. As a result of technological advances in recent years, the use of ToF sensors is increasing for phones and other devices due to their compact form factor and low power consumption.
Autonomous robots and drones must have a function to map the environment, detect obstacles in front of tens of meters and check their position from video images. However, the widespread use of 3D sensors using the conventional indirect ToF method has been limited, as it is not sufficient to tolerate ambient light when used outdoors.
With Brookman Technology now incorporated as a subsidiary, Toppan has been able to leverage the strengths of both companies to drive the development of a new type of 3D sensor. This has led to the development of a hybrid ToF technology based on Brookman Technology’s unique “short pulse modulation” refinement. method, long-distance measurement, excellent tolerance to ambient light, high-speed imaging, and the use of multiple cameras at the same time.
“Together with Brookman Technology, we hope these new sensors will contribute to greater security and convenience by operating as a‘ 3D sensor eye ’that expands the capabilities of autonomous robots and industrial devices,” said Tatsuo Noguchi, head of Toppan’s ToF Business Development Center. “Toppan will develop a range of sensor cameras using new ToF technology, with plans to test the models from December this year and launch sales in the fall of 2023.”
Features of the new ToF sensor
Measuring distances up to 30 meters
Using the hybrid ToF method, distances of up to 30 meters can be measured, five times more than conventional models.
Noise removal function to facilitate outdoor measurements in mid-summer conditions
Each pixel is equipped with a function to remove external light components. This eliminates the noise of ambient light and allows accurate measurement even though the lighting is in the range of 100,000 lux, the equivalent of a mid-summer day.
High speed images at 120 frames per second
Distances can be measured without blurring, which can lead to errors in measuring and eliminating ambient light noise in a single frame. This allows you to capture up to 120 images per second, which is about four times the capacity of existing models.
Up to 256 simultaneous camera operation
A special control technique makes it possible to eliminate signals emitted from other cameras by treating them as ambient light. This means that a maximum of 256 cameras can operate at the same time without interference between the cameras.
About Brookman Technology
Brookman Technology, Inc. Started in 2006 in Hamamatsu, Japan, Brookman Lab, Inc. as led by Dr. Shoji Kawahito’s Senior CMOS Image Sensor Expert, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Shizuoka University. Since then, Brookman Technology has worked in a variety of forms of analog and mixed-signal CMOS IC design, specializing in the design of advanced CMOS image sensors for a wide range of applications. The company became a subsidiary of Toppan in March 2021, acquiring 94.6% of its shares.
Founded in 1900 in Tokyo, Toppan is a world-leading and diversified supplier committed to providing sustainable and integrated solutions in the areas of printing, communications, security, packaging, decorative materials, electronics and digital transformation. Toppan’s global team of more than 50,000 employees offers the best possible solutions for industry experts and technology to meet the challenges of each business sector and society and help them achieve shared sustainability goals.
For more information, visit https://www.toppan.com/en/