Toppan and Brookman Technology’s next-generation Flight Time Sensor is the world’s first to be able to measure distances of up 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[2] 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 there June 15 Toppan, Brookman Technology and Shizuoka University, at the 2022 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology & Circuits (VLSI Symposium), an international conference on semiconductor-related technologies. Honolulu, Hawaii-tik June 13-17 By the 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 developed a hybrid ToF technology based on Brookman Technology’s unique “short pulse modulation” refinement.[3] method, long-distance measurement, excellent tolerance to ambient light, high-speed imaging, and the use of multiple cameras at the same time.

“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,” he said. Tatsuo Noguchi, Head of Toppan’s ToF Business Development Center. “Toppan will develop range-sensing 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

Use of A hybrid ToF method allows you to measure distances of up to 30 meters, 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. He was born in Hamamatsu, Japan As in 2006 Brookman Laboratory, Inc., led by Dr. Shoji Kawahito, a professor of Electrical Engineering at Shizuoka University, led by an expert CMOS image sensor. 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.

About Toppani

created in Tokyo In 1900, 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/ or follow Toppan on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/toppan/.

1. The hybrid ToF method proposed by Professor Shoji Kawahito of Shizuoka University is a new sensing technology that combines distance based on indirect ToF method with phase difference and time difference based on direct ToF method. It is calculated by combining several short-duration light-time windows using so-called “multi-time window technology” that the hybrid method’s tolerance to ambient light noise may be a major problem when it comes to outdoor detection. conventional indirect ToF method.

2. As a ToF sensor with a pixel structure of a conventional CMOS image sensor that does not use avalanche photodiodes. Toppan’s research based on prior art documents and existing product catalogs (June 2022).

3. Compared to “continuous wave modulation” by which continuous light waves are emitted, “short pulse modulation” is a method of measuring distance by emitting light pulses of very short duration.

SOURCE Toppan

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