Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Yole Thoughts on iPhone X 3D Camera

EETimes' Junko Yoshida interviews Pierre Cambou, activity leader for imaging and sensor at Yole Développement:

"Cambou acknowledged that he was surprised to see the solution “way more complex than initially envisioned.” Building blocks inside the iPhone X, designed to enable Apple’s TrueDepth camera, include a structured light transmitter, a structure light receiver on the front camera and a time-of- flight/proximity sensor. Cambou said, “Apple managed to have so many technologies, and players behind those technologies, to work together for a very impressive result.”

Cambou said, “Well done indeed, if they were able to do such complex assembly.”

The Yole analyst suspects that STMicroelectronics is supplying the infrared camera and the proximity sensor. Apple might have sourced the front camera and the dot projector from AMS, he added.

While admitting that Apple isn’t — after all — using in iPhone X “ST’s SPAD imager as I dreamed,” Cambou conceded, “Apple combined admirably all the available technologies.


  1. I guess I called it, Structured + TOF.

  2. There is no ToF... its only structured light to create the Depthmap (PrimeSense). A second VCSEL was added for IR illumination to identify 2D features on the face and to track the eyes. They then match 3d for all the 2d features (corners of the eyes, tip of nose etc) for them from the Depthmap...
    you can see in the demos it lights up first and then the main projector. then they pulse intermittently.

  3. There is ToF, it is a combination of a lateral as well as intensity modulation.

  4. I want to clarify my older comment about no Tof...
    the proximity sensor uses ToF method to find object range and keep the color camera focused, just like in the iphone 7. it is not involved in creating the depthmap. below the proximity sensor there is another VCSEL - called flood illuminator that is used to flood the scene with diffuse IR light and aid in detection of the face features. When face and eye focus are detected - the flood illum' is closed and the Structured light VCSEL (Primesense tech) starts lasing and imaged by the IR camera. the RAW IR image is processed to a DepthMap (same as in Kinect/Carmine/Xtion cams).


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