Time of Flight is the new electronic technology used for depth sensing application. ToF has mostly deployed for the highly pinpoint distance mapping and 3D imaging technology. The sensors used for such imaging technology are commonly known as 3D depth sensors or ToF sensors that emits a short infrared light pulse and measures the return time of the reflected light signal from the object. Low Latency, ease of use, direct depth data with minimum post processing, excellent integration and high sensitivity makes TOF sensors the best solution for a wide range of applications.
The basic principle of the Time-of-Flight sensors involves the sending out a light signal and measuring a property of the reflected signal from the object. The measured property is used to calculate the Time of Flight. The distance is obtained via multiplying the time of flight and the velocity of the signal in the application medium. The light source is pulsed by a continuous wave, basically a square or sinusoid wave to detect the phase shifts between the transmitted light and the reflected light. Due to easy realization using digital circuit, the square wave modulation is more common. Further, using an ordinary CMOS process, the depth sensor is implemented in a single chip. Its depth resolution is in the order of a few millimeters, and does not require any computationally complex post-processing.
Simple structure and speed are key constraints for the product demand in market. The growing demand from various end use industries such as consumer electronics, automotive, industrial, healthcare among others is said to be the primary driver for the growth of the Time of Flight sensor market. Time-of-flight sensors are used in safety functions for automotive applications such as precrash detection, active pedestrian safety and indoor applications. However, the background light, interference and multiple reflection associated with the ToF sensor is anticipated to hinder the Time of Flight sensor market growth.
The global Time of Flight sensor market is segmented on the basis of sensor type, by end user and by region. On the basis of sensor type, the Time of Flight sensor market can be divided into quarter VGA ToF image Sensor, half-quarter quarter VGA ToF image Sensor and others. In the region wise study, the Time of Flight sensor market has been segmented into United States, Europe, China, Japan, and South Korea. On the basis of end users the Time of Flight sensor market is segmented into automotive, health care, industrial, entertainment and robotics and drones.
Global Time of Flight sensor market is highly fragmented with more number of companies operating in the Time of Flight sensor market. Leading players are currently focusing on virtual reality experience through drones providing cost competitive products to the customers. Various key players are investing heavily in the R&D activities in order to develop and introduce products with advance features in to the Time of Flight sensor market. There are various start-ups that are proliferating in the market especially in the growing economies. Furthermore, an increasing number of players are forming strategic partnerships in order to garner increasing market share. The leading players which are working on Time of Flight sensor market includes STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, PMD Technologies, ifm Electronic, Espros Photonics, Infineon, Prime Sense and Melexis among others.
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