Infineon miniaturizes 3D image sensor for facial recognition in phones

The new REAL3 single-chip solution measures just 4.4 x 5.1 mm and is the fifth generation of Time-of-Flight deep sensors from Infineon.
The new REAL3 single-chip solution measures just 4.4 x 5.1 mm and is the fifth generation of Time-of-Flight deep sensors from Infineon. (Infineon)

Infineon Technologies AG has collaborated with software and 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) system specialist pmdtechnologies ag to develop reportedly the world’s smallest, most powerful 3D image sensor. Designated the REAL3, the single-chip solution measures just 4.4 x 5.1 mm and is the fifth generation of time-of-flight deep sensors from Infineon. The sensor can be incorporated into even the smallest devices with just a few elements, while providing high resolution with low power consumption.

The depth sensor ToF technology enables an accurate 3D image of faces, hand details or objects which is relevant when it must be ensured that the image matches the original. This is already applied in payment transactions using mobile phones or devices that need no bank details, bank cards or cashiers and the payment is carried out instead via facial recognition. This in turn requires reliable and secure image and return transmission of the high-resolution 3D image data.

“With the fifth generation of our REAL3 chip we are once again demonstrating our leading position in the field of 3D sensors,” said Andreas Urschitz, President of the Power Management and Multimarket Division at Infineon, in a statement. “It’s robust, reliable, powerful, energy efficient and at the same time decisively small.” The 3D sensor also allows the device to be controlled via gestures, so that human-machine interaction is context-based and without touch.

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The sensor chip (IRS2877C) provides additional options for ambitious photos with cameras, for example, with enhanced autofocus, bokeh effect for photo and video, and improved resolution in poor lighting conditions. Real-time full-3D mapping also allows authentic augmented reality experiences to be presented.

The chip was developed in Graz, Dresden and Siegen and combines the expertise of Infineon’s and pmdtechnologies’ German and Austrian locations. Production will begin in mid 2020. In addition, Infineon Technologies offers an optimized illumination driver (IRS9100C) that further improves performance, size and cost as a complete solution.

The sensor is the basis of pmdtechnologies latest 3D Time-of-Flight camera module. The module provides a VGA resolution depth data output and incorporates a newly designed 5µm pmd pixel core. The imager’s VGA resolution enables applications to produce more detailed 3D data. Uses include enhanced photography, 3D reconstruction of faces and objects, augmented reality, photorealistic relighting, and gesture control and measurement.



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