Time-of-Flight Smart Sensors

Heptagon introduces SHILAH and TRINITY, the next advancement in its Time-of-Flight (ToF) 3DRanger™ sensors in ultra-small form factor. Each sensor can be dynamically configured for a single point or a range of independent measurement points. SHILAH provides 12 highly sensitive measurement points with a 70-degree wide field of view, and TRINITY provides 9 measurement points in a 30-degree field of view. Both are complete, intelligent modules with an integrated microprocessor, adaptive algorithms, advanced optics, a ToF sensor and a light source. Heptagon continues to build on its patented “phase modulation” ToF pixel technology, which has best-in-class sensitivity and speed, as well as excellent background light rejection. Both devices can accurately measure distance up to 3 meters in normal lighting conditions depending on configuration.

“The new additions to our 3DRanger family, SHILAH and TRINITY, are pushing industry standards and adding significant new features” says René Kromhof, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Heptagon, “With expertise in ToF, algorithms, packaging and optics, Heptagon is uniquely positioned to enable new functionality and features in distance mapping and the 3D imaging space. Our innovative, dynamic, multipoint reconfiguration technology enables application or context specific configurations to optimize resolution, depth, and battery life for each situation.”


Multipoint distance measurements open up a vast array of new possibilities for the Internet of Things, Smart Homes, and Mobile devices. Each distance point can be measured independently, simultaneously and combined to create a configurable array of measurement points. This enables advanced applications like scene analysis, edge extrapolation or advanced object detection. In smartphones, for example, these 3DRangers will allow fast autofocus lock for primary and front-facing cameras. This allows users to have a more creative and richer photography experience, even with poor lighting conditions and in video mode. This is a complementary feature that enhances performance for traditional contrast autofocus and more recent phase detection autofocus systems that are embedded in image sensors (PDAF). The performance of the latter is typically less than ideal in low light conditions and in video mode.

SHILAH, TRINITY and our dynamic reconfiguration technology provide accurate and repeatable absolute distance measurements. They are Class 1 laser eye safe and both products function reliably in all target lighting conditions with constant performance, independent of an object’s reflectance. SHILAH and TRINITY also monitor the ambient light and automatically adjust exposure settings for each measurement point. Both 3DRangers are easy-to-use with measurement results read-out through a standard I2C interface. SHILAH and TRINITY come in an ultra-small, thermally efficient package, which provides maximum integration flexibility. Use of embedded filters allows for a lower-cost cover glass design. Both sensors are standard reflow compatible, RoHS and REACH compliant.

These new additions to the 3DRanger family reinforces Heptagon’s commitment to productize best-in-class technology in easy-to-use formats. SHILAH offers second to none features and TRINITY enables an easy, pin-compatible path for existing Heptagon 3DRanger customers. Product demonstrations can be seen at the Heptagon booth in the IoT Pavilion Hall 8 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 22-25, 2016.

Source: Heptagon