Maxim launches infrared LED sensor array technology, performance comparable to ToF cost reduced to one tenth

Maxim Integrated, headquartered in San Jose, California, USA, recently launched a new sensor array technology based on infrared LEDs. This technology and product can realize gesture control of non-contact interface, and its performance can be comparable to Time of Flight (ToF, Time of Flight) technology, and the cost is only a small part of it.

According to foreign media EenewseuropeToF, the technology and its sensor products are widely used in various applications from automobiles to mobile phones, and they are becoming more and more popular. The Covid-19 pandemic that broke out this year has driven the market’s demand for non-contact interactive interfaces. At present, ToF has become a key technology and component.

However, there are other companies and technologies targeting this market, and Maxim Integrated is developing another technology based on infrared sensor arrays to achieve gesture recognition. The current performance of this technology is comparable to ToF, and it is worth noting that its cost is only a small part (about one-tenth) of ToF technology and sensors. This technology and product of Maxim’s was originally designed for automotive applications, which can prevent users from touching the control device. In the context of the current epidemic, many markets including automotive, Display, medical and other markets have begun to pay attention to the non-contact design of products, so the above-mentioned cost reduction has brought hope for new consumer concepts and industrial non-contact interface design.

ToF technology and sensor products generally use CMOS image sensors as the signal receiving unit, and CMOS is relatively expensive, which makes the cost of the entire module uneconomical. On the other hand, in some other programs of the same type, designers began to use neural networks and time information to simplify these receiving units. Maxim’s plan is to follow this direction. They designed 60 arrays of photodiodes, LED drivers and internal LDOs inside a 4x4mm chip. The size advantage brought by this design is that its size is 75% smaller than that of a traditional ToF sensor. In addition, it can also be paired with a small microcontroller. In contrast, the traditional solution needs to be paired with a large microprocessor.

This design and product can currently recognize 9 gestures, including swipe (Swipe), rotation (Rotation), air link (Air Link) and 3×2 proximity sensing partitions. In addition, because they are all designed in a single chip, the delay time is much lower than the traditional three-chip design. This cost and size reduction is not only in the automotive field, but also in consumer and industrial applications (such as smart home hubs, thermostats, etc.) to help the product’s gesture control design. Users can control the device without touching the device.

“Although systems based on ToF technology can now be used for gesture-sensing operation requirements in luxury cars, automakers still hope to be able to extend this fashionable and product life-saving function to more common cars,” the market Sachin Garg, vice president of research organization MarketsandMarkets, said: “Designers need a low-cost alternative to the current ToF system, which allows them to combine more economical gesture sensing capabilities with the more popular automotive market. “

“Maxim Integrated’s MAX25205 will change the rules of the game in the traditional automotive industry,” said Szu-Kang Hsien, Executive Business Manager of Maxim Integrated’s Automotive Business Unit: “By providing automotive applications with the most dynamic gesture control functions at the lowest cost, automotive Manufacturers can circumvent the high cost of traditional time-of-flight solutions and provide gesture sensing capabilities for more models.”

Finally, the evaluation kit is currently only available under the framework of a non-disclosure agreement, which may illustrate Maxim Integrated’s views on this technology.

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