Microsoft, LG Innotek join forces for 3D sensing cameras LG Innotek ToF Modules

LG Innotek, which has earned a name for itself for its high-performance cameras, will develop and supply a 3D sensing component for  Microsoft’s cloud computing service Azure.

LG Innotek said it would develop time of flight (ToF) modules for Azure platforms.

ToF module, by the way, is a 3D sensing component that calculates distance by measuring the time that light bounces back from a subject and recognizes an object’s 3D effect, spatial information, and movement. 

Basically, it is an ultra-compact camera module for face recognition that can sense the 3D depth of the subject.

Mass production of the same will begin in the second half of 2021.

For the record, LG Innotek already has a tie-up with Apple and is supplying ToF modules to the latter for its AR projects.

ToF sensors can turn captured pics into 3D images

The ToF module offers support for advanced functions such as biometric verification, motion sensing, artificial reality and virtual reality.

3D cameras are meant for computer vision analysis, but their design and manufacturing require special technology in illumination, strong sensor level understanding and optical design capability.

ToF sensors can turn captured pics into 3D images and also measure at a speed of 20 frames per second, allowing it to track the movement of objects three-dimensionally.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft will enable LG Innotek to help ecosystem partners on new designs and expand the application areas of 3D sensing modules beyond smartphones,” Eun Jong-yun, head of LG Innotek’s optics solution product planning division was quoted as saying in a company statement.

Azure-supported 3D cameras have multiple uses

Microsoft will support the Azure ecosystem for the development of the Azure-connected ToF module and its related services. It has been searching for partners that can boost its services combining the Azure platform and 3D cameras. 

Microsoft has been at it for over two decades in 3D sensing field, spanning from pixel to chip, from modules to cameras, from algorithms to software. This Microsoft 3D sensing knowhow was used to build Microsoft Hololens and Azure Kinect Devkit.

Daniel Bar, head of business incubation for the Silicon & Sensor’s group at Microsoft, said, “We are excited to welcome LG Innotek to our ecosystem and accelerate time to market for 3D cameras. This is a key step towards providing easy access for computer vision developers to create 3D vision applications.”

Azure-supported 3D cameras can be used in measuring movements and checking the motion of people when they exercise. In the retail area, they can be helpful for managing inventories or preventing theft. In factories, these cloud-connected cameras can monitor and analyze production lines to prevent accidents.

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