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  Date: 02/06/2013

Image sensor IC tracks finger movements for touchfree gesture

Infineon in cooperation with pmd technologies GmbH has developed 3D Image sensor chips for touchfree gesture feature in consumer electronics devices. The new IC integrate 3D image sensing pixel array, control logic, digital interfaces with ADCs (Analog-to-Digital Converters) and digital outputs.

The Infineon 3D Image Sensor chips can track finger movements and hand gestures to generate signals for the computer in the digital device.

“Gesture recognition will dramatically change the way people control computing and consumer electronic systems,” says Ralf Bornefeld, Vice President and General Manager of the Sense & Control business line at Infineon Technologies AG. “We expect touchless gesture interfaces based on our 3D Image Sensor to change the user experience and enhance productivity the same way that the mouse did decades ago with the PC.”

The new chip family includes pmdtechnologies’s ToF pixel matrix and patented Suppression of Background Illumination (SBI), a feature which improves the sensor chip’s dynamic range for indoor and outdoor operations.

"The consolidation of the existing and mature Time-of-Flight 3D sensing know-how at pmd and the volume-proven, mixed-signal CMOS process technology and design expertise of Infineon will pave the way to the best possible user experience for touchless gesture recognition applications,” says Dr. Bernd Buxbaum, CEO of pmdtechnologies.

The Infineon 3D Image Sensor family currently includes two members. The IRS1010C has a resolution of 160x120 pixels and the IRS1020C has a resolution of 352x288 pixels. Both are dynamically configurable via I²C interface, allowing adjustment in real time to changing lighting and operating conditions. The chips are delivered as bare die for integration with camera lens and Infra-Red (IR) illumination source in a camera module.
Samples of the Infineon 3D Image Sensors are now available for development of 3D camera systems. Volume production is planned for mid-2014.

A 3D camera reference design based on the Infineon 3D Image Sensor chip for smallest 3D image sensing camera is available from Infineon. Designed by pmdtechnologies, this USB-powered QQVGA resolution 3D camera is based on the IRS1010C 3D Image Sensor chip. It measures only 85 x 17 x 8 mm³, which makes it the smallest depth sensing camera available.

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