Infineon, PMD offer 3D image sensor for face recognition

January 17, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, Germany) has worked with its long-time partner PMD Technologies AG (Siegen, Germany) to develop a time-of-flight image sensor for use in 3D face recognition.

The Real3 (or IRS238xC) enables a camera module for integration in smartphones with a footprint of less than 12mm by 8mm, including the receiving optics and VCSEL illumination.

Infineon referenced unnamed market forecasts that predict smartphones with 3D sensing will increase in number from about 50 million units shipped in 2017 to 290 millions expected to ship in 2019. Infineon argued that ToF is a superior technology to the alternatives; stereoscopic and structured light.

Two previous chips from the Infineon-PMD collaboration were the IRS1010C with a resolution of 160 by 120 pixels (19,200 pixels) and the IRS1020C with a resolution of 352 by 288 pixels (100k pixels). Both are dynamically configurable via I2C interface, allowing adjustment in real time to changing lighting and operating conditions. The chips are delivered as bare die for integration with camera lens and Infra-Red (IR) illumination source in a camera module.

The Real3 sits in between these two predecessors in terms of resolution with 38,000 pixels. As with the predecessors each pixel features Suppression of Background Illumination (SBI) circuitry. It is tuned to work at 940nm wavelength infrared light sources making the projected light invisible and improving the outdoor performance even further. Furthermore, the IRS238xC integrates a dedicated function to support Laser-Class-1 safety level of the complete solution.

The ToF camera module is ready for mass production and does not have to be re-calibrated during use.

Samples of the Infineon 3D image sensor chip are available with volume production scheduled to start in 4Q18. Software partners including Sensible Vision Inc. and Idemia offer application software for user face detection and authentication.

Related links and articles:

www.infineon.com

www.pmdtec.com

News articles:

Gesture-control cameras enabled by 3D image sensor chips

Chirp launches ultrasonic ToF sensors

Could ST ToF sensor lead to Apple 3D camera?

SOI wafers optimized for NIR, 3D imaging


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