Heptagon today announced the introduction of ELISA 3DRanger™, the world’s first 5m Time-of-Flight (ToF) 3DRanger Smart Sensor. ELISA increases the previous maximum range of 2m by over 2x, more than doubling the sensor’s ability to measure distances under certain conditions. When integrated with a smartphone camera, ELISA enables new applications like a virtual measuring tape, security features, people counting, augmented reality, and enhanced gaming. The range extension also improves auto-focus applications. Other new features include SmudgeSense™, the company’s proprietary active smudge detection and resilience technology, and a 2-in-1 Proximity Mode, adding near distance ranging functionality that enables the use of ELISA in front-facing applications with very limited real-estate impact. This supports applications like real-time video chat filters or automatic selfie zoom adjustment. In addition, a new “Always On” continuous measurement feature enables low power consumption in Internet of Things (IoT) systems. It is also available as a Heptagon RFDuino™ plug & play building block, for rapid prototyping of products. As part of the advanced Heptagon 3DRanger family, ELISA is pin, footprint, and program compatible with other 3DRangers. This significantly simplifies adoption for existing OLIVIA and LAURA customers and provides a simple upgrade path to Heptagon’s multipoint TRINITY.
Extend distance more than 2x, up to 5m (Credit: Business Wire)
“We’re pleased to announce ELISA, the world’s first 5m Time-of-Flight 3DRanger Sensor.” says Scott Filler, General Manager of the Sensing Products business unit, “We continue to see strong demand for 3DRanger sensors in smartphones and other applications. By focusing on key customer challenges like 5m range and smudge resilience, we continue to push the technology envelope and deliver solutions that enhance the end user’s experience.”
Dirt and smudges are a part of life. They can become a problem for any optical sensor, impacting performance across multiple dimensions including ambient light sensitivity, measurement range, and accuracy. When used for taking pictures, end users might not be aware of a problem until they get a blurry or out-of-focus result. ELISA incorporates SmudgeSense, which raises Heptagon’s already excellent smudge resilience to a whole new level. By using built-in, patented ToF smudge pixels, ELISA is able to detect high levels of smudge in real time, and alert the user about a problem through software. Additional proprietary algorithms are employed to dynamically increase smudge resilience using the data provided by the smudge pixels. This leads to optimized system performance, not only during manufacturing test, but in real life.
2-in-1 ToF Proximity Sensing Mode
ELISA’s new 2-in-1 Proximity Mode delivers proximity and ranging functionality for both front- and rear-facing cameras. It can replace existing proximity sensors that are used to turn off the screen while making calls, thus preserving valuable real estate and aesthetics on the front of the phone. The addition of ranging functionality brings the advantages of a fast laser auto focus to the forward-facing camera enabling new functionality such as real-time video chat filters or automatic selfie zoom adjustment. When utilized in a rear-facing application, the Proximity Mode can be used to detect when the phone is placed into a pocket or is lying on a surface. In Proximity Mode, distances between 10mm and 80mm are measured and the sensor provides a flag when a user-defined threshold is reached.
IoT “Always On” Feature
For power-sensitive IoT applications, ELISA includes a new “Always On” continuous measurement feature. The sensor is able to continue capturing measurements even if the host processor goes into sleep mode. It can then wake the host processor once an object is detected. This helps conserve power at the system level.
ELISA is a complete smart sensor module with an integrated microprocessor, adaptive algorithms, advanced optics, ToF sensor, and light source. Mass production begins in December 2016. The 5m distance range was achieved in normal office lighting conditions using high accuracy mode with the target object covering the full 29 degrees Field of View. As part of the advanced 3DRanger family, ELISA is pin, footprint, and program compatible with OLIVIA, LAURA and TRINITY, providing a high level of flexibility for implementing 3D Ranging functionality across multiple smartphone models, from single to multi pixel ranging, from short to long range.