Frost & Sullivan Applauds pmdtechnologies’ Roll Out of the Scalable and Compact 3D Time-of-Flight Sensor Technology for Use across Industries

May 02, 2016 at 6:30 AM

Frost & Sullivan Applauds pmdtechnologies’ Roll Out of the Scalable and Compact 3D Time-of-Flight Sensor Technology for Use across Industries

pmd’s ToF technology has a very high sensitivity and can capture 3D details in great depth

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — May 2, 2016 — Based on its recent analysis of the three-dimensional (3D) time-of-flight (ToF) sensor market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes pmdtechnologies ag (pmd) with the 2016 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation. The company’s ToF solution comprises a photonic mixer device technology with special sensors to enable faster and more reliable measurement of light signals that are reflected from the objects.

pmd’s ToF technology employs a combination of its patented suppression of background illumination (SBI) technology and an on-chip application processing feature. The SBI technology distinguishes active light transmitted from the object against other non-correlated light sources such as sunlight.

The on-board application processing feature sets pmd’s ToF technology apart from peer solutions, as it helps ToF sensors capture images with great depth, without the use of a separate application processing unit. pmd has developed a 3D image sensor chip family based on its ToF technology, and they are the world’s first commercially available 3D image sensors. pmd also provides 3D camera prototypes and reference designs for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology developers, allowing them to integrate their technology with various products.

“By enabling intelligent processing of ToF images on a single chip, pmd is able to deliver an extremely efficient and high-resolution ToF system, in which the illuminator and the image sensor can be placed as close as possible,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Karthik Vishal Lakshmanan. “This gives ToF chips an extremely small form factor for easy deployment in smartphones and tablets.”

Furthermore, the resolution of pmd’s ToF solution is highly scalable. The entire chip can be tuned to a sensitivity of one pixel or a few pixels, up to its full capacity of 100K pixels. The ToF system can be easily tuned to any pixel value in between through software control.

Scalability, as well as the small size of pmd’s ToF chip, makes it ideal for use in advanced ToF-based 3D cameras. It will be useful later this year in smartphones and tablets to give these devices a human scale understanding of space and motion, from 2017 the technology will see immense application in augmented reality and virtual reality systems, and from 2018 for in-vehicle warning systems as well as vehicle navigation systems.

Significantly, as this ToF technology does not require an vast external application processor, it consumes much less power than competing solutions. This makes pmd’s ToF solution well suited for low-power applications. Meanwhile, customers that have implemented pmd’s earlier single pixel laser range finder can leverage the operation and implementation knowledge of this system to easily integrate the new ToF solution into their systems. This does away with the need to invest in knowledge building and implementation.

“pmd is focused on providing highly scalable ToF solutions for a wide range of markets including consumer electronics, automobile manufacturing and industrial automation. pmd produces and distributes prototypes of its ToF-based 3-D camera systems to research institutions and OEMs, in addition to presenting reference designs free of cost,” noted Lakshmanan. “Furthermore, it offers support for integration, system testing, and in other technology areas to camera developers, researchers and OEMs.”

Owing to its technological achievements in the ToF sensors market and its ability to cultivate application opportunities, pmdtechnologies ag has fully earned Frost & Sullivan’s 2016 European New Technology Innovation Award for 3-D ToF sensor technology.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing and leveraging new technologies that significantly influence both the functionality and the customer value of products and applications. The award lauds the high R&D spend towards innovation, its relevance to the industry, and its impact on brand perception.

Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for outstanding achievement in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research.

About pmdtechnologies

pmdtechnologies ag, a fabless IC company based in Siegen/Germany and San Jose/USA, is the worldwide leading 3D Time-of-Flight CMOS-based digital imaging technology supplier. Started up in 2002, the company owns over 150 worldwide patents concerning pmd-based applications, the pmd measurement principle and its realization. Addressed markets for pmd's 3D sensors are industrial automation, automotive and the wide field of consumer applications like AR/VR. Up to date, pmd has sold almost a million pmd sensors. 

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