True 3D

Author : M Babb

04 September 2009

This compact industrial sensor sees three dimensions at once. It is the first industrial 3D sensor that can detect scenes and objects in three dimensions at a glance. The product is the result of ifm’s Integration of the PMD (photonic mixer device) time-of-flight measurement sensing technology into a full vision chip.

ifm image sensor based on PMD technology
ifm image sensor based on PMD technology

The image sensor has 64 x 48 pixels. Each pixel of this chip matrix evaluates its distance to the object, resulting in 3072 distance values. The image of the object on the matrix and the respective distance values correspond to a 3D image. The geometrical characteristics of the object or the scene can be read from these values.

Line scanning followed by complex post-imaging processing is not involved.

The integrated time of flight measurement based on PMD technology allows evaluation of geometrical characteristics such as volume, distance, level or surface area. The innovation is that  the measurement and the evaluation of the time of flight are integrated on one chip.

The firmware allows the user to select the type of evaluation and set the parameters. This makes applications easy to resolve.

Two switching outputs indicate the results; or alternatively, one of these switching outputs can be configured as 4...20 mA / 0...10 V analogue output.

The device is independent of, and unaffected by, external lighting conditions, having its own powerful built-in infrared illumination.

The 3D vision sensor thus provides illumination, depth measurement and evaluation in one housing. 

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