Melexis, the global microelectronics company enabling future innovation through a philosophy of inspired engineering, has announced a chipset and its evaluation kit that simplify and speed the implementation of robust, time-of-flight (ToF) 3D vision solutions for the most challenging environments. With this newest addition Melexis continues to strengthen its expertise and know-how in the area of ToF solutions for automotive and beyond.
Representing a complete ToF sensor and control solution, the chipset supports QVGA resolution and offers unsurpassed sunlight robustness and up to -40°C to +105°C temperature range operation. Using the evaluation kit, designers can test this automotive-qualified chipset and start developing their own custom hardware and application software.
The Melexis chipset brings together the company’s MLX75023 1/3-inch optical format ToF sensor and the MLX75123, a companion IC that controls the sensor and illumination unit and delivers data to a host processor. Together the devices can minimize the component count and reduce the size of 3D ToF cameras. Designed for maximum flexibility, the modular EVK75123 QVGA evaluation kit combines a sensor board featuring the chipset, an illumination module, an interface board and a processor module.
The MLX75023 sensor has QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) resolution and industry-leading background light rejection capabilities of up to 120klux. This IC can provide raw data output in less than 1.5 ms, giving it unsurpassed capacity to track rapid movement. The MLX75123 control chip has 12-bit parallel camera interface and I2C connectivity and 4 integrated high-speed analog-to-digital converters (ADC). Integrated functions include powerful diagnostics and support for region-of-interest, configurable timing, image flipping, statistics and switching modulation frequencies.
As the MLX75023 and MLX75123 have respective footprints of just 7mm x 7mm and 6.6mm x 5.5mm, they require minimal board real estate. The operational robustness of this chipset makes it highly suited to designs for automotive, surveillance and smart buildings, as well as industrial applications including machine vision, robotics and factory automation. Operating temperature range is -20°C to +85°C as standard, with an elevated -40°C to +105°C option also available. High-temperature capabilities mean that, unlike alternative solutions, the need for active cooling can be minimized. This leads to a reduction in noise, as well as enabling further cost and space savings in relation to thermal management.
Consisting of four vertically stacked PCBs – sensor board, illumination board, interface board and processor board – the EVK75123 evaluation kit has an 80mm x 50mm x 35mm form factor and features an NXP i.MX6 multi-core processor. Its illumination unit has 4 VCSELs, with a choice of either 60° field-of-view (FoV) or a wider 110° option for acquiring imaging data from a broader area. Thanks to a modular construction, engineers can choose which elements are needed. For example, they can combine the sensor board (containing the ToF chipset) with the other hardware elements, or simply use it as a standalone module. The processing board can be located away from the sensor and illumination boards as necessary.
“Through our long-term expertise in both sensor and sensor interface technologies, we are able to provide the advanced silicon needed to implement a 3D imaging system that exhibits superior sunlight robustness and that can deal with elevated temperatures,” states Gualtiero Bagnuoli, Marketing Manager for Optical Sensors at Melexis. “The new chipset, and accompanying evaluation kit provide a comprehensive, fully-integrated, off-the-shelf solution for rapidly developing next-generation ToF 3D camera designs.”