Monday, September 12, 2011

Melexis Uses Softkinetic ToF Camera for Collision Avoidance System

Melexis introduces its range-sensing technology licensed from SoftKinetic and optimized for automotive collision avoidance system. The solution will be demonstrated at the International Motor Show on Sept. 15-25, 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany. The ToF technology adaptation and development have been the result of a previously announced close cooperation between SoftKinetic-Optrima and Melexis.

The cost-effective and robust solution detects and avoids collisions with obstacles around the vehicle. The ToF sensor is made by SoftKinetic and uses DepthSense technology described as a Current Assisted Photonic Demodulator (CAPD). The principal advantage of DepthSense compared to other range sensor technologies is said to be the combination of high sensitivity and low noise.

Wired published a little bit outdated interview with Softkinetic's CEO Michel Tombroff accompanied with a nice Youtube video:


  1. I think that this approach is patented by IMEC guys.

  2. Is this one: United States Application US20050051730 ?

  3. I cannot find an issued patent corresponding to the 2005 application. Maybe it was rejected or abandoned or maybe still being negotiated with USPTO due to prior art.

    I heard there were about 3000 patents covering range finding sensors and systems. If this becomes a big business it is good news for patent technology consultants....not so good news for smaller companies.

  4. Independant of this patent application, I had this idea since long time, but one thing troubled me since: the injection of majority carrier creates effectively an electric field which guides the photogenerated minority carriers. So in the silicon bulk, there are many carriers in motion, one part of them will be captured by the charge collection node. Will these extra carriers impact finaly S/N ratio???

  5. Photobit managed to patent the Bayer color filter (with lots of prior art) and get a settlement from OVT just prior to being purchased by Micron.

    But Samsung has deep pockets if it gets sued. Of course the issue isn't money, but shutting down shipments of end products with the infringing technology. That's the killer.

  6. The statement about Photobit patenting the Bayer color filter is just wrong and very silly.
    Getting a settlement from OVT is true, however.

    Patent lawsuits are always about money, one way or the other.

  7. @Eric,
    Apparently there is a patent granted for US App 20050051730:US Patent No. 6,987,268. If you are curious about the documents involved in examination, you can always search USPTO PAIR ( Patent Application Information Retrieval) System.


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