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Virtual CES 2021 showcases technologies ‘for a better future’

13 Jan 2021

optics.org samples a selection of photonics-based innovations presented this week.

The first-ever, all-digital CES 2021, owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, has throughout this week presented its full digital experience to audiences around the world.

CES 2021 features more than 1900 exhibitors from across the technology spectrum and more than 100 conference sessions featuring industry leaders. General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra presented the official opening keynote address on January 12th.

optics.org here presents a selection of the photonics-based innovations presented at CES this week.

LG Display redefines role displays in the contactless era

LG Display is presenting its latest display products and technologies under the theme of “Display, now the real world comes to you” at CES 2021. The company is emphasizing the redefined role of displays in the contactless era as well as presenting various display solutions optimized for the lifestyle of customers, including up to date adaptations during CES.

LG is exhibiting its latest display products via 11 lifestyle theme zones organized to not only show the excellent picture quality of OLED displays but also to introduce how displays can provide solutions for upgraded and more convenient lives.

On show is an 88-inch 8K Cinematic Sound OLED and a 77-inch Wallpaper OLED. Through these products, the company says it is highlighting “OLED as a display that delivers realistic and natural picture quality without any exaggeration.” In addition, the company will demonstrate a variety of professional display products for monitors and laptops, ranging from 15.6-inch to 27-inch to 31.5-inch displays.

LG’s virtual exhibit’s “Smart Home Zone” features a bed with a 55-inch transparent OLED named “Smart Bed”. At the push of a button, the OLED display rises from its frame to show information or TV contents in various screen ratios.

Moreover, LG Display is proposing a new display concept needed for consumers in the contactless era – caused by Covid-19. The “Restaurant Zone” recreates a sushi bar environment, in which a 55-inch Transparent OLED and a 23.1-inch in-TOUCH display are installed in the space between customers and chefs, allowing menu checking and ordering to be easily done via these displays.

Sense launches modular FLASH LiDAR for autonomous vehicles

Sense Photonics, a breakout LiDAR developer, has entered the automotive market with the introduction at CES 2021 of Osprey, which it describes as “the first modular FLASH LiDAR for advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous driving.” Units are priced at $3,200 and are available now for preorder.

The company adds that, “Osprey's arrival is a major automotive milestone, ushering in a new era of fully solid-state depth sensing. It features a 75-degree vertical field of view that is also ultra-wide and dense, enabling high-resolution object detection from the street curb to the horizon.”

Osprey combines an automotive-qualified, near-field sensor with a “Sense Illuminator”, a proprietary distributed VCSEL laser array comprising thousands of individual laser elements. Osprey will be used by Sense Photonics' automotive partners to test and develop the next generation of autonomous platforms.

“Near-field sensing has been a major challenge for the automotive industry, especially in the development of autonomous driving,” commented Sense Photonics’ CEO Scott Burroughs. “Our simple, camera-like architecture is a significant benefit to customers looking for a scalable LiDAR product.”

Sense Photonics is actively working with a number of automotive partners, including an unannounced Tier 1 automotive supplier, multiple automotive OEMs and major self-driving programs, and German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon.

Blickfeld’s launches automotive LiDAR suite

At digital CES 2021, LiDAR manufacturer Blickfeld is showing its automotive LiDAR products for the first time. After commercially launching the industrial LiDAR Cube 1 in 2020, the Munich-based company is now presenting its automotive LiDAR suite consisting of a mid-range as well as a long-range sensor.

The mid-range sensor, the Blickfeld Vision Mini, has tiny dimensions that can be customized according to customer requirements. Example dimensions of 50 x 50 x 50mm illustrate the 3D LiDAR sensor’s compactness, enabling it to be efficiently integrated into vehicles.

By incorporating it into side mirrors, headlights, rear-view lamps, and the A, B, and C pillars, for example, a 360° surround-view is achieved. With a field of view of up to 107° and a range of up to 150m on vehicles, the sensor provides reliable data for automated driving.

Blickfeld is also introducing a long-range LiDAR sensor for automotive applications, the Vision Plus. This sensor is designed for use at the front and rear of the vehicle and covers the detection of small objects at distances of up to 200m. Together Vision Mini and Vision Plus enable automation for level 2+ and upward autonomous vehicles.

The third product in Blickfeld's automotive portfolio is the MEMS scanning module 118. This laser scanning unit features a particularly large aperture, wide deflection angles, and high optical power. The unit consists of a silicon-based mirror system for 2D or 3D scanning and a corresponding software library for individual control.

This makes it suitable for use with different wavelengths (e.g., 905nm, 1550nm) and in time-of-flight applications as well as in FMCW-based devices. The scanning module has proven its automotive suitability in internal and external test campaigns based on LV124 (shock, vibration and temperature).

Terje Noevig, COO and managing director at Blickfeld, commented, “By making our MEMS scanning module 118 available as a product, we hope to enable further technology advancements for our customers. Vision Mini and Vision Plus represent our automotive suite for automated driving from Level 2-5, enabling automation of driving functions from slow maneuvers in the city to driving at highway speeds."

Iridian Spectral TechnologiesCeNing Optics Co LtdHÜBNER PhotonicsUniverse Kogaku America Inc.AlluxaMad City Labs, Inc.Photon Lines Ltd
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