EETimes on iPad Pro LiDAR: Apple Sparked a Race to LiDAR Scanners

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EETimes reporter Junko Yoshida publishes an article "Breaking Down iPad Pro 11’s LiDAR Scanner" derived from an interview with SystemPlus and Yole Developpement analysts:

"Apple has sparked a race to use LiDAR scanners. Apple built one into its iPad Pro 11, and now it seems everyone wants one in their products.

What makes this LiDAR scanner significant — and why other mobile device vendors, including Huawei and Vivo, appear going after it — is a specific technology used inside the unit to sense and measure depth.

In EE Times’ interview, Sylvain Hallereau, senior technology and cost analyst at System Plus, explained that iPad Pro 11’s “LiDAR scanner” consists of an emitter — a vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) from Lumentum, and a receptor — near infrared (NIR) CMOS image sensor that does direct measurement of time of flight, developed by Sony.

Sony integrated the NIR CMOS image sensor with SPAD using 3D stacking for ToF sensors for the first time. In-pixel connection made it possible to put the CMOS image sensor together with the logic wafer. With the logic die integrated, the image sensor can do simple calculations of distance between the iPad and objects, Hallereau explained.

Sony has elbowed its way into the dToF segment by developing this new generation SPAD array NIR CMOS image sensor featuring 10 µm size pixels and a resolution of 30 kilopixel.

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