Sony, Panasonic Bet on ToF Sensors

Image Sensors World        Go to the original article...

Bloomberg quotes Satoshi Yoshihara, GM of Sony image sensors division saying on 3D image sensing: "This has the scale to become the next pillar of our business."

"The most immediate impact from TOF sensors, which will be fabricated at Sony’s factories in Kyushu, will probably be seen in augmented-reality gadgets.

“Sony has everything technology-wise to address the market,” said Pierre Cambou, an imaging analyst at Yole. “They shouldn’t have a problem gaining a large share in 3D.”

When Sony decided to gamble on time-of-flight sensors three years ago, it faced a choice between building or buying the technology. In 2015, Sony decided to acquire Softkinetic Systems, a small developer of TOF sensors.

“When our engineers and their engineers talked about collaborating, we realized we could come up with an amazing sensor,” Yoshihara said of the merger. “In terms of both (chip) performance and size, we can achieve another breakthrough.”

Alexis Breton, a spokesman for STMicro, declined to comment, pointing to recent data showing that it’s shipped more than 300 million TOF chips. STMicro’s revenue from the division that mostly includes the sensors was $295 million last year.
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Panasonic too presents a number of 3D ToF cameras:


Basler uses Panasonic ToF sensors in its 3D cameras. The company's ToF products marketing manager Jana Bartels explains the camera features:

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