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ams invests in new imaging center of excellence in Rochester, NY...

03 Mar 2021

... and partners with ArcSoft on novel 3D sensing ToF technology for Android mobile devices.

ams, a developer of high-performance sensor solutions, is establishing a new imaging center of excellence for image sensors and product validation to support key US customers, at the Riverwood Tech Campus in Rochester, NY, USA.

A concentration of photonics expertise in research and development in the Rochester area means that there is world-class talent base to create a center of excellence for optical imaging, said the company, which last year completed the acquisition of Osram.

ams is keen to expand its engineering capacity, drawing upon tits position in consumer imaging and sensing in the smart phone market combined with Rochester's regional heritage and ecosystem in imaging and photonics.

“Rochester is the perfect choice for ams to expand its research and development in the trans-formative fields of consumer imaging and photonics, to create design innovations that make an impact on our world,” said David Sackett, Senior Director Research and Development, Consumer Image Sensors at ams and the site manager. “We look forward to collaborating with institutions such as the NYS American Institute for Manufacturing for Integrated Photonics, and renowned local universities and institutes.”

ams’ position in optical sensing is built on its broad portfolio for 3D sensing including VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) illumination, display management including behind-OLED (BOLED) sensing, micro-scale proximity sensing, spectral and bio-sensing, and other optical applications.

ams announcement stated that it expects “future sophisticated camera enhancing technologies to offer attractive adoption opportunities as camera-related features will drive key value propositions for smart phone users.”

This would include sectors such as automatic white balancing, laser-detect autofocus / 1D ToF, wide-range flicker detection and AR-oriented camera support functions. As an example, ams’ innovative AWB solution uses accurate spectral sensing analysis to open a new way of boosting picture quality and natural color expression and is seeing additional market traction, the company said.

ams partners with ArcSoft on 3D sensing for mobile devices

ams and computer vision-based imaging software developer ArcSoft have demonstrated what they call “a working system for 3D direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) sensing, offering a complete solution for 3D sensing for use in mobile devices for Android”.

Integrating ams’ 3D optical sensing solutions and ArcSoft’s middleware and software for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) and 3D image processing offers the option for manufacturers to quickly and more simply implement augmented reality (AR) functions on mobile devices.

High-performance, low-power dToF sensing systems also supports valuable applications including 3D environment and object scanning, camera image enhancement, and camera auto-focus assistance in dark conditions.

Frison Xu, Senior Vice-President and CMO of ArcSoft, commented, “The implementation of 3D dToF in mobile devices promises to spark the next wave of killer consumer applications, from photography enhancement to AR interactions, for example in interior styling and photorealistic reconstruction.

“We will combine ams’ dToF system with AR and computer vision core engines from ArcSoft to develop a superior imaging and AR experience for consumers. This adds significant value to manufacturers when developing new and exciting mobile apps, due to better lowlight bokeh, fast and accurate auto focus, wide-range, and vivid 3D scene modeling.”

Lukas Steinmann, Senior Vice President of the Business Line Sensing, Modules and Solutions at ams, said, “We see strong potential for broader market adoption of 3D dToF technology for world-facing AR use cases and photo enhancement in high-end Android mobiles from 2022.”

The system – first presented at last week’s MWC 2021 Shanghai – is the result of intensive development work by ams and ArcSoft engineering teams. ams expects to be ready for production before the end of 2021 with a fully integrated 3D dToF sensing solution which will be superior to any existing implementation.

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