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New ST ToF 3D LiDAR Module Boasts 2.3k Resolution

February 23, 2024

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ST has introduced an all-in-one, direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) 3D LiDAR module featuring a market-leading 2.3k resolution. Additionally, the company has disclosed an early design win for the world's smallest 500k-pixel indirect Time-of-Flight (iToF) sensor.

The newly announced VL53L9 is a direct ToF 3D LiDAR device with a resolution of up to 2.3k zones. It incorporates a dual scan flood illumination, a unique feature in the market, enabling the LiDAR to detect small objects and edges while capturing both 2D infrared (IR) images and 3D depth map information. This ready-to-use low power module includes on-chip dToF processing, eliminating the need for additional external components or calibration. Moreover, the device offers state-of-the-art ranging performance from 5cm to 10 meters.

The suite of features of the VL53L9 enhances camera-assist performance, supporting macro up to telephoto photography. It facilitates functionalities like laser autofocus, bokeh, and cinematic effects for both still images and videos at 60fps.

Virtual reality (VR) systems can benefit from the accurate depth and 2D images provided by the sensor, enhancing spatial mapping for more immersive gaming experiences and other VR applications such as virtual visits or 3D avatars. Its ability to detect small object edges at short and ultra-long ranges makes it suitable for applications like virtual reality and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping).

ST has also shared news about its VD55H1 ToF sensor, which has entered volume production and secured an early design win with Lanxin Technology, a China-based company specializing in mobile-robot deep-vision systems. Lanxin Technology's subsidiary, MRDVS, has selected the VD55H1 to incorporate high-accuracy depth-sensing into its 3D cameras.

The cameras equipped with ST's sensor offer a combination of 3D vision and edge AI, enabling intelligent obstacle avoidance and high-precision docking in mobile robots. Apart from machine vision, the VD55H1 is suitable for various applications such as 3D webcams, PC applications, 3D reconstruction for VR headsets, people counting, and activity detection in smart homes and buildings.

ST's stacked-wafer manufacturing process with backside illumination allows for unparalleled resolution with a smaller die size and lower power consumption compared to alternative iToF sensors in the market. These features make the sensors ideal for 3D content creation in webcams and VR applications, including virtual avatars, hand modeling, and gaming.

Lead customers can already access first samples of the VL53L9, with mass production scheduled to commence in early 2025. On the other hand, the VD55H1 is currently in full production, catering to the growing demand for advanced depth-sensing solutions.

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