FRAMOS Releases iToF Devkit for Time-of-Flight Camera Developers
FRAMOS, a leading global supplier of imaging components, announced the launch of a new development kit for vision system engineers who are working to develop Time-of-Flight devices for industrial and robotics applications.
The FSM-IMX570 Devkit provides vision system engineers with a simple, coherent framework for quickly developing a working prototype of an embedded indirect Time-of-Flight (iToF) embedded vision system based on Sony's leading iToF technology. The development kit is built around Sony’s IMX570 iToF image sensor, and includes the necessary hardware modules, software drivers, and documentation to allow engineers to integrate the system with widely-used platforms like NVIDIA’s® Jetson™ embedded computers and create a working camera prototype within a few hours.
Time-of-Flight, or ToF devices use pulses of infrared laser light to illuminate the subject and measure the time it takes for the reflected light to reach the image sensor to determine depth information. Indirect Time-of-Flight, or iToF cameras are a variation of ToF cameras. While ToF cameras directly measure the time it takes for the emitted light to be reflected back to the camera, indirect ToF cameras send out continuously modulated pulses of light, and then measure the phase shift of the reflected light to calculate the distance to an object.
Because of their ability to sense depth and distance accurately, ToF cameras are used in a variety of machine vision and embedded systems applications. These include applications like industrial robotics, where ToF cameras can be used instead of LiDAR to help robots navigate autonomously. Other applications of ToF cameras include logistics, where they are used to allow automated forklifts to accurately pick up pallets and package sorting, where ToF cameras can quickly sense and sort package dimensions.
ToF cameras are also finding their way into the mobility and transport sectors, where they are used for attention tracking and gesture recognition, and in retail automation, where they are used for people counting and seamless checkout systems.
FRAMOS’s FSM-IMX570 Devkit has been developed to address some of the difficulties vision system engineers face when developing camera systems with emerging technologies. These include the fact that creating a working camera requires integrating multiple components that aren’t always easy to interface to accessible platforms for processing and calibrating the raw data from the sensor. Since ToF is an emerging technology, there isn’t a lot of documentation available for some components, and what little there is often proprietary.
“Our development kit is the only calibrated solution on the market aimed at evaluating Sony’s iToF technology with IMX570 on NVIDIA Jetson family of embedded computers as an image processing hardware solution”, explained André Brela, Product Manager at FRAMOS. “The development kit provides a complete working solution, including illumination and calibrated, on-board depth processing. The development kit is also compatible to a family of versatile processing boards that are directly applicable in the field, so the engineers can develop and run their own software applications taking ready to use point cloud data from our API.”
The development kit allows engineers to get a working device system up and running quickly. It allows them to visualize depth data as false color video, or as a 3D point cloud stream. Besides the preprocessed and corrected depth data, the FSM-IMX570 Devkit also allows users access to the raw pixel data from the image sensor, for the purpose of development and benchmark with own processing pipelines.
André Brela explained that in addition to the development kit, FRAMOS provides customization and support services for companies seeking to develop new products: “While the development kit provides basic functionality out of the box, we understand that it won’t provide the exact fit, function or performance our individual clients are seeking when developing very effective and efficient new products, embedding 3D sensing for a particular application”, he said. “Because of this, the development kit is primarily a tool supporting the requirement engineering together with our customers to quickly come to the best solution with our comprehensive list of custom solution and production services for device builders.”
FRAMOS can customize all elements of the development kit, pouring it into the perfect fit for performance and producibility. Starting from the form, size and layout of the printed circuit boards, over driver porting and tuning, to adaption of the whole optics and illumination system for the specific application and operating distances. The goal is to provide a complete solution from one hand, relieving customers from the duties and risks managing technology and supply chain quality when moving into volume.
The FSM-IMX570 Devkit includes a FRAMOS sensor module board, with the Sony IMX570 sensor; a laser illumination board; a sensor adaptor board, to provide synchronization with the laser illumination and on-board depth processing, and a FRAMOS processor board adapter, to provide connectivity to the NVIDIA® Jetson family of embedded computers, including the Jetson Xavier™ and Jetson Orin™ platforms.
Vision system engineers can learn more about the FSM-IMX570 Devkit on the FRAMOS website.