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TOF CAM 635 - Easy and cost-effective introduction to TOF technology

TOF CAM 635 - Easy and cost-effective introduction to TOF technology

The time-of-flight technology is gaining more and more importance in the field of 3D imaging. However, the development of a ToF camera requires extensive know-how regarding optics, illumination and signal processing. With the new TOF>cam 635 from the Swiss photonics specialist ESPROS Photonics Corporation, these time-consuming and cost-intensive hardware engineering tasks have already been solved and a cost-effective and powerful 3D time-of-flight camera module is available to the user.

The particularly compact module (LxWxH = 81x24x28mm) is based on the proven epc635 time-of-flight sensor SoC with a resolution of 160x60 pixels. It has for point distance measurement with a field of view of 5°x5° and a range of 15m as well as a mode for 3D image acquisition with a field of view of 50°x19° (hxv) and a range of 7,5m. The camera is fully calibrated at the factory and has powerful algorithms to compensate for temperature and ambient light up to 100 kLux, which in many cases allows operation under direct sunlight. The integrated infrared illumination works at a wavelength of 850nm and provides optimal illumination of the field of view. Thus the image acquisition is possible independent of the ambient light conditions, e.g. also in darkness. The module delivers up to 50 ToF images per second and provides these via a serial high speed UART interface with 10 Mbps. For easy integration into downstream systems, the TOF>cam 635 is supplied with a ROS (Robot Operating System) driver.

The TOF>cam 635 can be used in various applications such as collision avoidance in automated guided vehicle systems, navigation in mobile robots, person recognition in automatic doors or gesture recognition. With the integrated spot on 15m range the SLAM function (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) can also be executed. The camera provides individual distance information including signal strength for each of the 160x60 pixels. This information can be used to generate a three-dimensional image, e.g. in the form of a point cloud. In addition, the camera provides grayscale images if required. Thanks to the integrated CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) function, it is also possible to operate several modules together to cover particularly large areas.

For the evaluation of the 3D camera module the software TOFCOS for Windows and Mac is available for free download. The software has an intuitive GUI and allows the parameterization of the camera as well as the graphical display of the acquired depth information. With a separately available interface converter, the TOF>cam 635 is simply connected to the PC via USB. An additional power supply is not necessary due to the low power consumption of only 1W.

The modules can now be ordered from Neumüller Elektronik.