First 0.5Mpixel Time-of-Flight Sensor Introduced

STMicroelectronics’ new family of high-resolution sensors bring advanced 3D depth imaging to smartphones and other devices By DA Editor / 22 Feb 2022

STMicroelectronics has announced a new family of high-resolution Time-of-Flight sensors that bring advanced 3D depth imaging to smartphones and other devices.

The 3D family debuts with the VD55H1; a sensor which maps three-dimensional surfaces by measuring the distance to over half a million points. Objects can be detected up to five meters from the sensor, and even further with patterned illumination. Its unique pixel architecture and fabrication process, leveraging in-house 40nm stacked wafer technology, ensures low power consumption, low noise, and optimized die area. The die contains 75% more pixels than existing VGA sensors, within a smaller die size.

Indirect time-of-flight (iToF) sensors, such as VD55H1, calculate the distance to objects by measuring the phase shift between the reflected signal and the emitted signal. This is a complementary technique to direct time of flight (dToF) sensors, which measure the time for transmitted signals to be reflected back to the sensor.  ST’s broad portfolio of advanced technologies enables the Company to design both direct and indirect high-resolution ToF sensors, and offer optimized solutions tailored to application requirements.

VD55H1 addresses emerging AR/VR market use cases including room mapping, gaming, and 3D avatars whilst enhancing the performance of camera-system features such as bokeh effect, multi-camera selection and video segmentation in smartphones.

Face-authentication security is also improved with higher resolution and more accurate 3D images to protect phone unlocking, mobile payment, and any smart system involving secure transactions and access control. In robotics, the VD55H1 provides high-fidelity 3D scene mapping for all target distances to enable new and more powerful capabilities.

Further Technical Information

  • 672 x 804 back-side illuminated (BSI) pixel array for iToF depth sensing
  • operate with a modulation frequency of 200MHz with more than 85% demodulation contrast at 940nm, reducing depth noise.
  • Short capture sequence that supports a frame rate up to 120 fps and improves motion-blur robustness
  • Ability to reduce power consumption to less than 100mW in some streaming modes, helping to prolong the runtime of battery-operated devices.
  • Multi-frequency operation, an advanced depth-unwrapping algorithm, low pixel noise floor, and high pixel dynamic range ensure superior measurement accuracy over long ranging distance. Depth accuracy is better than 1% and typical precision is 0.1% of distance.

“The innovative VD55H1 3D depth sensor reinforces ST’s leadership in Time-of-Flight, and complements our full range of depth sensing technologies,” said Eric Aussedat, ST’s Executive VP, Imaging Sub-Group General Manager. “The FlightSense™ portfolio now comprises direct and indirect ToF products from single-point ranging all-in-one sensors to sophisticated high-resolution 3D imagers enabling future generations of intuitive, smart, and autonomous devices.”

Posted by DA Editor Connect & Contact

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