Leica Camera and Pmdtechnologies announce a strategic technology cooperation to offer optimized lenses for 3D sensor solutions


In context of the Mobile World Congress Leica Camera AG and Pmdtechnologies AG, the leading fabless IC supplier of high-performance Time-of-Flight (ToF) depth sensing solutions, today announced a strategic alliance to jointly develop and market 3D sensing camera solutions for mobile devices.

The partnership utilizes the core competencies of both companies to develop optimized lenses for the specific requirements of 3D depth sensing solutions. With tailor-made optics the partners address the increasing demand especially from the mobile device segment for highly efficient lenses with compact dimensions. The spatial proximity of the two companies allows a particularly fast and efficient coordination during development, testing and optimization of the lenses for the 3D sensor systems.

During the last months Leica designed a dedicated state-of-the-art optical lens for pmd’s recently announced new 3D depth sensing imager for mobile devices. By decreasing the f-number by 25% and simultanously decreasing the height of the pmd module by 30% to 11.5x7x4.2mm the dedicated lens for pmd’s latest 3D ToF pixel- and imager generation leads to a significant improvement compared to past lenses. As the Leica lens is optimized for a wavelength of 940nm, it enables superior ambient light robustness. With a depth data accuracy of 1%, the system is expected to reach a superior data quality and best in class performance despite the miniaturization regarding pixel, imager and module size. First samples of the new lens will be available in May 2018.

“The co-work between Leica and pmd has as the result the most sophisticated and smallest optic design, which pmd used so far. The co-work with Leica aligned perfectly with our mission to miniaturize 3D depth sensing without sacrificing data quality so that 3D depth sensing can be put into any device and make 3D depth sensing ubiquitous. We are looking forward to the mobile device opportunities, which the super-small 3D depth sensing modules, which use Leica’s optic, will enable. And we are more than happy that with Leica we found a top-class partner, who will join us on this exciting journey,” stated Jochen Penne, Executive Board Member of pmdtechnologies ag.

Markus Limberger, COO of Leica Camera AG said: “The cooperation between pmd and Leica is an excellent example of how two globally leading companies combine their core competencies to drive market oriented innovation efficiently. The foremost position of pmdtechnologies in Time-of-flight sensor technology and Leica’s expertise in cutting edge optical design were used to develop a very compact and powerful lens, which fits perfect to the specific requirements and the uncompromising quality of the new 3D sensor generation of pmd.”

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