3D image sensor: Infineon enables easy smartphone unlock by face recognition
Infineon partnered with pmd technologies AG to develop a new 3D image sensor in its REAL3 chip family, based on Time-of-flight (ToF) technology. They could build smallest camera module for integration in smartphones with a footprint of less than 12 mm x 8 mm, including the receiving optics and VCSEL (Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) illumination.
Use of of 3-D image sensors in smart phones for face recognition is a growing trend. Infineon quotes "Market forecasts expect smartphones with 3D sensing functionality to increase from about 50 million units in the year 2017 to roughly 290 million units in 2019". Time-of-flight offers advantages in performance, size and power consumption of battery-operated mobile devices, according to Infineon.
Each pixel in the 38,000 pixel REAL3 chip features the unique Suppression of Background Illumination (SBI) circuitry. REAL3 chip is tuned to work at 940 nm infrared making it immune to visible light. IRS238xC integrates a dedicated function to support Laser-Class-1 safety level.
Availability: ToF camera module is ready for mass production. Samples of the new Infineon 3D image sensor chip are already available. Volume production is scheduled to start in Q4 2018.
Infineon also announced it software partners Sensible Vision Inc. and IDEMIA, who are offering application software for user face detection and authentication. Demos with REAL3 3D image sensor chip are available.