Gesture-control cameras enabled by 3D image sensor chips

May 30, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Infineon Technologies has introduced a family of 3D Image Sensor chips for implementation of touchless gesture recognition. Developed in cooperation with pmdtechnologies GmbH, the chips are the first to combine a 3D image sensing pixel array with the digital conversion and control functionality needed to design very compact and accurate monocular systems for gesture recognition applications in computers and consumer electronics devices.

Developed in cooperation with pmdtechnologies GmbH, the chips are the first to combine a 3D image sensing pixel array with the digital conversion and control functionality needed to design very compact and accurate monocular systems for gesture recognition applications in computers and consumer electronics devices.

The Infineon 3D Image Sensor chips will simplify and enhance the way people interact with machines. They enable fast and reliable tracking of finger movements and hand gestures to complement today’s touch screen and mouse or stylus user interfaces. 3D cameras based on the Infineon 3D Image Sensor chip family can achieve unmatched levels of miniaturisation and deliver an excellent user experience, the company says. High level integration lowers cost and size of a complete camera module. A reference design based on this chip is the smallest 3D image sensing camera is now available.

The Infineon 3D Image Sensor chips were developed in collaboration with pmdtechnologies GmbH (Siegen, Germany), technology provider for 3D Image Sensors based on the Time-of-Flight (ToF) principle. The new chip family includes pmd’s ToF pixel matrix and patented Suppression of Background Illumination (SBI), a feature which improves the sensor chip’s dynamic range for indoor and outdoor operations.

The Infineon chip family offers the highest level of integration now available, including the photosensitive pixel array, sophisticated control logic, digital interfaces with ADCs (Analogue-to-Digital Converters) and digital outputs.

The 3D Image Sensor family currently includes two members. The IRS1010C has a resolution of 160x120 pixels and the IRS1020C has a resolution of 352x288 pixels. Both are dynamically configurable via I²C interface, allowing adjustment in real time to changing lighting and operating conditions. The chips are delivered as bare die for integration with camera lens and Infra-Red (IR) illumination source in a camera module.

Samples of the Infineon 3D Image Sensors are now available for development of 3D camera systems. Volume production is planned for mid-2014. Also available is the CamBoard pico, the world’s