Leica Camera AG & pmd expand partnership with new 3D camera for mobile devices


Leica Camera and pmd technologies announced the development of 3D sensing camera solutions for mobile devices:

The world’s smallest Time-of-Flight (ToF) solution features best ambient light robustness, and highest resolution 3D depth sensing for mobile applications

February 26, 2019 04:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

SIEGEN, Germany – Leica Camera AG and pmdtechnologies ag, the leading fabless IC supplier of high-performance Time-of-Flight (ToF) depth sensing solutions, today announced the next milestone of their strategic alliance to jointly develop and market 3D sensing camera solutions for mobile devices. The partnership has created “Holkin”, a new reference design specifically developed for mobile applications.

The “Holkin” module uses a Leica lens, which is designed for pmd’s latest 3D imager IRS2771C that has been launched at Mobile World Congress 2019. It features a module z-height of 4.2mm and a resolution of HVGA (480 x 320 pixels), making it the smallest 3D camera with the highest resolution on the market today. The module features a superior ambient light robustness for both indoors and outdoors. The Leica lens is optimized for 940nm and the pixels in the imager use pmd’s patented SBI (Suppression of Background Illumination).

Marius Eschweiler, Global Director Business Development of Leica Camera AG said: “With over 150 years of experience Leica earned a reputation of being the world’s leading company for optical design. By using this expertise Leica is leaping forward into the future and exploring new applications in mobile photography and beyond. Together with our strategic partner pmd we are constantly pushing the boundaries of the innovative ToF technology to achieve the best performance in the most compact form factor.”

The highly efficient lens was specifically designed for the requirements of 3D depth sensing. The imaging system is perfectly suited for world-facing as well as for user-facing (selfies) mobile phone integrations. Applications such as secure face unlock, image enhancement or augmented reality are elevated to the next level with the “Holkin” module.

“We are happy to say that we found a partner in Leica, with whom cutting edge depth sensing systems are being designed. This is possible because we share a common passion for great engineering work, be it on optic, software or ASIC level,” said Dr. Bernd Buxbaum, CEO of pmdtechnologies ag.

“The collaboration between Leica and pmd has proven that the best-in-class ToF depth systems are achieved by co-designing the depth sensing system and not by piecing together individual components,” said Jochen Penne, Executive Board Member of pmdtechnologies ag.

The partnership is proven to enable a particularly fast, and efficient coordination during development, testing and optimization of the lenses for 3D sensor systems. Leica and pmd are pleased that they will continue to broaden this cooperation.

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