Time-of-flight takes flight with QVGA sensor chipset
As a refresher (or introduction), Time-of-flight technology, as explained in Melexis’ white paper, “Time-of-flight Basics”, involves “…illuminating a scene using modulated light and measuring the phase delay of the returning light after it has been reflected by the objects in the scene. The phase delay is then measured and converted to distance using a quadrature sampling technique.” This technology is especially useful in ADAS where diagnostics around whether the system is working in a safe way and in a hot environment is critical.
To date, there is generally just one camera covering as much of the entire area so high-resolution, high-cost sensors were pretty much the only option. However, there are use cases where high resolution is not as important, such as in a smaller car, or where you may want to cover the driver and the passenger, or maybe just the outside and the inside, or perhaps just the rear seats. The new Melexis MLX75024 QVGA ToF sensor gives designers flexibility and lower cost by combining low- and high-resolution capabilities into one sensor that features twice the sensitivity using the same amount of active light and still achieve the same performance of higher-cost options. The sensor also allows the system to work at both 850 and 940 nanometers and features selective gain of pixel, the ability to capture a small amount of signal, all with a 50 percent lower current that the first generation.
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