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Precise distance measurement – ams OSRAM launches world’s smallest multi-zone dToF modules

ams OSRAM (SIX: AMS), a global leader in optical solutions, is expanding its portfolio of dToF modules with three new devices for multi-zone and multi-object detection with a wider field-of-view (FoV) and extended range.

Precise distance measurement – ams OSRAM launches world’s smallest multi-zone dToF modules
ams OSRAM expands its portfolio for time-of-flight modules with TMF8820, TMF8821 and TMF8828.
  • ams OSRAM’s new direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) modules combine light source, detector and optics into one component
  • TMF8820, TMF8821 and TMF8828 enable detection of the target area in multiple zones and ensure extremely precise measurement results
  • Multiple objects can be detected per zone, and up to a distance of five meters
  • Target applications include Laser Detect Autofocus (LDAF) in smartphones, user presence detection in PC’s, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensing in Industrial and Home/Business Automation systems

dToF sensors are a critical technology, used in a wide range of industrial and home or business automation applications. Industrial and in-home robots require sophisticated systems to detect their environment to ensure they are operating in a safe manner. The multi-zone dToF modules TMF8820, TMF8821 and TMF8828 from ams OSRAM 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’s 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. 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," said David Smith, Marketing Manager at ams OSRAM.


Precise distance measurement – ams OSRAM launches world’s smallest multi-zone dToF modules
Thanks to the division of the field of view into several zones, obstacles in the immediate vicinity of the robot can be precisely detected.

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 sensors FoV. These 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 one centimeter up to five meters.

The modules combine a 940 nm Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL), a sensitive single photon avalanche photo diode (SPAD) detector array with matching multi-lens optics, and an on-chip microcontroller for histogram processing in one device. Thanks to the compact dimensions of 2.0 mm x 4.6 mm x 1.4 mm, the modules are the smallest multi-zone dToF modules available on the market.

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