Long range 3D camera targets the metaverse

Long range 3D camera targets the metaverse

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Materials firm II-VI has teamed up with Artilux in Taiwan to develop a next-generation 3D camera with much longer range and higher image resolution to enhance the use of the metaverse.

II-VI combined its proprietary technologies in indium phosphide (InP) semiconductor lasers with a sensor array from Artilux  for a miniature 3D camera that operates in the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) at 1380 nm, resulting in significantly higher performance than existing cameras operating at 940 nm.

II-VI provided the highly integrated SWIR illumination module comprising InP edge-emitting lasers that deliver up to 2 W of output power and optical diffusers, in surface-mount technology (SMT) packages for low-cost and high-quality assembly. Artilux’s camera features a high-bandwidth and high-quantum-efficiency SWIR sensor array based on a scalable, mature CMOS technology platform called Halcyon developed with foundry TSMC.

Rather than the traditional silicon germanium (SiGe), Artilux used germanium on a silicon substrate (GeSi) for NIR (near infrared)+SWIR (short-wavelength infrared) sensing and 3D sensing technology. This reduces dark current and DCR (dark count rate) by more than 3 orders of magnitude.

“The longer infrared wavelength provides better contrasts and reveals material details that are otherwise not visible with shorter-wavelength illumination, especially in outdoor environments,” said Dr. Julie Sheridan Eng, Sr. Vice President, Optoelectronic Devices & Modules Business Unit, II-VI. “By designing a camera that operates at 1380 nm instead of 940 nm, we can illuminate the scene with greater brightness and still remain well within the margins of eye safety requirements. In addition, the atmosphere absorbs more sunlight at 1380 nm than at 940 nm, which reduces background light interference, greatly improving the signal-to-noise ratio and enabling cameras with longer range and better image resolution.”

“The miniature SWIR 3D camera can be seamlessly integrated into next-generation consumer devices, many of which are under development for augmented-, mixed-, and virtual-reality applications,” said Dr. Neil Na, co-founder and CTO of Artilux. “II-VI and Artilux demonstrated a key capability that will enable the metaverse to become a popular venue for entertainment, work, and play. The SWIR camera demonstration provides a glimpse of the future of 3D sensing in the metaverse, with displays that can identify, delineate, classify, and render image content, or with avatars that can experience real-time eye contact and facial expressions.”;

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