Time of Flight Sensor and Camera

Technology #ua17-166

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Stanley Pau
Professor, Optical Sciences
Managed By
Amy Phillips
Sr. Licensing Manager (520) 621-9579

Title:  Time-of-Flight Sensor and Camera


Invention: Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a time-of-flight system that can be used for real-time 3D imaging of indoor and outdoor objects.  A novel arrangement of components takes advantage of a high frequency modulator to provide high-resolution depth information at high speed.  The source can be continuous wave or pulsed.  The novel system also provides additional information such as material properties.  It would be particularly advantageous in 3D facial recognition for security purposes.


Background:  Conventional time-of-flight (ToF) detectors operate on the principle of RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging) where the object is illuminated by an active source and the single-bounced reflected light from the object is detected. The distance between the source and the object can be calculated by measuring the delay and/or phase shift of the reflected light. Two common ToF methods are direct pulse modulation and continuous wave modulation . For direct pulse modulation, the intensity of the source is modulated, and the delay of the reflected pulse, τ, is measured.  For continuous wave modulation, the source amplitude is modulated periodically and the phase difference between the source and reflected light is measured.  However, neither of these methods produce a high-speed and high-resolution measurement.



* high-speed

* high depth resolution

* material discrimination

* robust and relatively inexpensive



* facial recognition

* user interfaces

* autonomous drone and vehicle

* machine vision

* robotic and remote sensing


Contact:  Amy Phillips


Refer to case number UA17-166