AES Semigas


20 December 2021

ams OSRAM launches smallest multi-zone dToF modules for precise distance measurement

ams OSRAM of Premstaetten, Austria is expanding its portfolio of direct time-of-flight (dToF) modules with three new devices for multi-zone and multi-object detection with a wider field-of-view (FoV) and extended range.

The modules combine a 940nm vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), a sensitive single-photon avalanche photodiode (SPAD) detector array with matching multi-lens optics, and an on-chip microcontroller for histogram processing in one device. Due to the compact dimensions of 2.0mm x 4.6mm x 1.4mm, the modules are the smallest multi-zone dToF modules available on the market, it is reckoned. 

dToF sensors are a critical technology, used in a wide range of applications, including laser detect autofocus (LDAF) in smartphones, user presence detection in PCs, and light detection & ranging (LiDAR) sensing in industrial and home/business automation systems. Industrial and in-home robots require sophisticated systems to detect their environment to ensure they are operating in a safe manner. The new multi-zone dToF modules TMF8820, TMF8821 and TMF8828 divide their detection area into multiple zones to collect more and higher-quality information. As a result, automated robots gain more ‘sensory awareness’, enabling early detection of potential obstacles. System manufacturers also benefit from the compact design and ease of integration of the new modules. 

Robots are taking over more and more tasks not only in application areas such as warehouse automation but also in the home. Special ToF systems are used to enable these robots to maneuver around unhindered, enabling them to navigate their environment. For example, vacuum cleaning robots recognize an object in their immediate surroundings and move around the obstacle. ams OSRAM says that its new dToF modules allow precise distance measurement. “TMF8820, TMF8821 and TMF8828 devices report accurate distance measurements for multiple objects across a number of detection zones,” says marketing manager David Smith. “This provides system manufacturers with much more information of what is happening in the environment thanks to the sensor that can see and make the appropriate decisions.&rdquo

The TMF8820 dToF module divides the FoV into 3x3 or 9 individual detection zones, the TMF8821 into 4x4 or 16 individual detection zones, and the TMF8828 into 8x8 or 64 individual detection zones. With multi-zone detection, it is possible to identify where an object is located within the sensor’s FoV. The new devices feature a dynamically adjustable FoV up to 63°, enabling customers to select either a narrow or wide FoV to meet their application needs. All three dToF modules have a detection range from 1cm up to 5m.

Tags: Osram VCSELs