New ams Active Stereo Vision System accelerates 3D adoption across smartphones, HABA and IoT environments

ams introduced Wednesday a new Active Stereo Vision (ASV) technology product portfolio which enables manufacturers of consumer, computing and industrial products to implement face recognition and other 3D sensing applications more easily and at lower cost.

Based on extensive 3D experience, ams has added Active Stereo Vision technology products to the portfolio to address additional and different 3D sensing applications as well as reach lower price points in the mobile segment. The initial smartphone OEMs are expected to launch products using ams ASV technology this fall. In addition, the new ASV technology can be used for applications in different industries such as computing, smart home and smart buildings.

AMS is global supplier of high performance sensor solutions and vendor in all three forms of 3D sensing including structured light, time of flight and ASV technology. ams offers infrared illumination solutions for all 3D camera platforms. Based on its Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) technology, and optical design and packaging capabilities, ams providesolutions for all 3D sensing cameras: dot-pattern illuminators for structured light cameras as well as texture enhancement for stereo cameras, and a variety of flood illuminators for ToF and video capture.

ams has developed a new hardware and software solution for generating accurate 3D depth maps through the ASV technique, using twin infrared cameras that sense the target using the illumination from miniature laser projectors. 

The system supplied by ams includes: the ams Belago product, a VCSEL illuminator which projects a semi-random high-density dot-pattern on the target; the ams PMSILPlus (VCSEL) flood projector, which features an improved wafer-level optical diffuser for uniform irradiance over the target plane; dual infrared cameras; ams software for generating a depth map image from the reflections captured by the cameras; ams system calibration software; and ams face-recognition software.

The distance extraction in stereo vision is based on triangulation between two sensors whose baseline (B) and focal plane (f) is known.  The disparity – a key parameter all triangulation methods – is calculated by processing the images of both sensors (rectification and matching algorithm) and extracting the correspondences.

​​​​​​The maximum detectable depth range is proportional to the baseline (B) and the sensor resolution. The final depth resolution is mainly limited by matching and calibration errors.

This ams ASV solution produces a depth map of an object such as a face with high accuracy and precision. Compared to structured light solutions, it is more cost effective without compromising on depth map quality and resolution and supports easier assembly processes.

The depth maps generated by the ams ASV technology is highly accurate enabling face recognition to meet payment-grade quality standards, an industry first. They can also be used in other 3D sensing applications such as: AR/VR using simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM); driver monitoring in automotive systems; 3D scanning in smart factory production systems; and eLock and Point-of-Sales systems.

The launch version of the ams ASV reference design is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform optimized for mobile phones. It draws on ams’ expertise in the design and production of wafer-level optical technology. Improvements to the Belago illumination module enable it to produce a randomized high-contrast dot pattern with full focus over the entire range that can be reliably captured by the IR cameras. 

By integrating optical components at wafer level, ams has miniaturized the design while maintaining high optical quality: the latest Belago device, supplied in a 4.2mm x 3.6mm x 3.3mm package, is ideal for integration into smartphones and other space-constrained designs.

Both the Belago and PMSILPlus emitters incorporate an eye-safety interlock to shut down the device in the event of lens crack or lens detachment.

The stereovision reference design demonstrates active stereo technology using the latest Belago dot projector, PMSILPlus flood illuminator, image sensors and SW (both depthmap and faceID) and enables fast time-to-market for OEMs. The turn-key reference design is optimized for the Qualcomm SD platforms (845, 855, 670) for front facing 3D and delivers excellent depth map quality at a small form factor and a low BOM.

“While smartphone makers have pioneered the use of face recognition in premium consumer products, the depth maps on which face recognition relies support many other potential use cases in products for not only the consumer market, but also industrial and automotive markets,” said Lukas Steinmann, vice president and general manager of 3D Sensing Modules and Solutions business line at ams. “The development by ams of a new, simpler and cheaper way to generate depth maps opens up further possibilities for implementing 3D sensing applications in a much broader range of end products than before.”

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