Thursday, November 27, 2014

ESPROS Announces BSI ToF Imager

ESPROS announces epc660, a BSI 3D-TOF imager with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. epc660 is an integrated SoC combining high-QE BSI CCD pixel array and complete control logic to operate the device, an integrated LED driver, capable of driving more than 200mA peak current, and a high-speed 12-bit parallel video interface. The sensor speed is 66 TOF frames per second at QVGA resolution or up to 1000fps in "advanced operation modes." The advanced CCD pixel architecture is said to be the enabler for camera systems that can tolerate ambient light levels of up to 130Klux. Depending on the system design, a resolution in the millimeter range for distances up to 100 meters is said to be possible.

The epc660 features various modulation schemes on-chip, such as frequency hopping, random modulation, and CSMA/CD. There is also a dedicated modulation input that can be externally fed with any desired modulation signal.

Source: ESPROS Nov. 2014 newsletter.


  1. Interesting. How can one do tof with a ccd? In order to get 1m resolution you need an order of 1ghz as c is 3e8m/s. Do you pulse your light source and open the shutter for 1ns? It seems like it will be challenging. I guess you can do tof by using multiple frames offset clocking by 1ns for subsequent frames to interpret where the signal is bouncing off of. Still this seems challenging. Does anyone know how these work?

    1. CCD technology is used to make fairly efficient demodulation pixels (a.k.a. lock-in pixels). They are used in Indirect ToF cameras to measure the phase delay of incident light signals modulated at 10s of MHz, reaching cm and even sub-cm precision. The principle was demonstrated in the late '90s and several commercial cameras based on this principle are currently available.
      This reference explains the basic principle:
      R. Lange, P. Seitz, "Solid-state time-of-flight range camera," IEEE J. Quantum Electronics, vol.37, no.3, pp.390,397, Mar 2001
      You can find a list of commercial ToF cameras in the wikipedia page:

      Lucio Pancheri

  2. If I recall correctly, there was a spectacular announcement of this imager two years ago. Wonder if the decvice sees the light of day this time round. QVGA, 130kLux, 100m range, mm resolution sounds quite challenging to me. I wonder if such announcement serves the credibility of TOF technology.

    1. Sure it will satisfy all these requirements - but unfortunately only one at a time:
      - QVGA TOF - has been done before.
      - mm resolution - dito at short range and small FoV
      - 100m range - why not if the distance error does not matter, FoV is very narrow, the target a retro-reflector and the illumination power high enough.

    2. Have a look at
      It's on sale, available from stock!
      The ESPROS Team

  3. One of the things I love about ASIC design is the sleek slender aesthetic. As a bit of a minimalist I appreciate designs such as this. Likewise the complexity of process and design never ceases the amaze.


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