Smartphone cameras continue to improve at almost breakneck speed and one huge leap that could be in the pipeline in the near future are time-of-flight (ToF) sensors.
ToF uses infrared beams to gauge the depth and distance between the camera and the subject for each point in the image using the time it takes for the beam to bounce back to the source. It is sort of like a bat’s sonar system work instead of “seeing” with sound the ToF cameras sees using invisible to the human eye infrared light. German company Infineon Technologies believes that this feature, in particular, will help overcome many of the deficits current smartphones have in low-light scenarios.
Senior Vice President of Sensors at Infineon Philipp von Schierstaedt told publication SemiconductorforYou just as much in a recent interview.
“The deployment of 3D sensing technologies… solve(s) the challenges that new applications set to the rear camera and that traditional 2D technologies fail to accomplish: a real 3D depth map… Such shortcomings are now being addressed by the latest 3D ToF imager generations in the REAL3 portfolio of Infineon. Therefore we’re convinced that we will see our new 3D sensor either enabling new classes of applications or taking existing applications to a new level of quality and user experience.”
Naturally, anything that starts out in the high-end segment of the market will eventually filter its way down to the more standard grade smartphones over time. Basically, what could start out as a high-end phone feature could quickly become standard tech in a few years – and transform most smartphone cameras into even more competitive devices in the process.
As PetaPixel points out, Infineon has their work cut out for them as they will go head to head with none other than Sony in the ToF sensor market. Even so, widespread adoption will probably be a rising tide floats all ships type of situation.
Do you think ToF sensors will be standard equipment on high-end smartphones in the future? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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