Why Use Time-Of-Flight for Distance Measurement?

Pushing the boundaries of IR LED indirect Time-of-Flight technology for 2D distance sensing and 3D depth mapping

3 min read

The most sophisticated of sensor module technologies are our innovative 3D ToF cameras which can capture depth data across three spatial dimensions. Depth sensing with Time-of-Flight sensors is discreet, completely eye-safe, and it is designed to work indoors even in low light or complete darkness.

This technology is a powerful enabler for applications such as people counting, digital stock monitoring, and room occupancy monitoring. With fast refresh rates, our 3D TOF sensor modules are also able to distinguish between simple gestures to assist with innovative human-machine interfaces and next-generation contactless controls.

 Shifting to ever smarter and versatile sensor modules

Terabee has just released a new type of indirect Time-of-Flight smart sensor for industrial and logistics applications. The sensor offers 12.5 meter detection capabilities using Time-of-Flight technology. It features a robust IP65 enclosure to ensure dust-proof and water-resistant capabilities in a compact and lightweight form factor (99 grams).

The sensor provides proximity notification with a classic NO/NC switching output (0-24V), while also communicating calibrated distance data via RS485 interface.

The sensor module features 6 embedded operating modes allowing for programmable distance thresholds. This makes it easy to set on-the-field in a matter of minutes thanks to teach-in buttons.

Operating modes allow the same sensor module to trigger alarms, detect movements, count objects and check for object alignment.

This versatility means that a single sensor can be purchased in bulk and programmed to automate many different control and monitoring processes. This is especially useful in reconfigurable warehouses and factories to save precious setup time.


Next steps

Terabee plans to build on its deep technology expertise in sensing hardware and to develop cutting-edge applications. In the coming 12 months, we will offer further solutions for many markets such as mobile robotics, smart farming, smart city, smart buildings and industrial automation in the form of devices, software and OEM services.

Learn more about Terabee

What is Time-of-Flight (ToF) distance sensing?

Several methods of detection are available for determining the proximity of an object or objects in real-time, each of which is differentiated by a diverse range of underlying hardware. As a result, distance sensors incorporate an extremely broad field of technologies: infrared (IR) triangulation, laser, light-emitting diode Time-of-Flight, ultrasonic, etc.

Various types of signals, or carriers, can be used to apply the Time-of-Flight principle, the most common being sound and light. Sound is mostly used in ultrasound sensors or radars.

Active optical Time-of-Flight, is a remote-sensing method to estimate range between a sensor and a targeted object by illuminating an object with a light source and by measuring the travel time from the emitter to the object and back to the receiver.

For light carriers, two technologies are available today: direct ToF ,based on pulsed-light, and indirect ToF based on continuous wave modulation.

 Terabee’s unique Time-of-Flight sensing technology

Established in 2012, Terabee has since grown into a diverse organization made up of leading experts in the sensing sector. As a certified CERN Technology partner, we offer an expansive range of sensor modules and solutions for some of the most cutting-edge fields on the market, from robotics to industry 4.0 and IoT applications.

At Terabee, we use light as carriers for our sensors to combine higher update rates, longer range, lower weight, and eye-safety. By carefully tuning emitted infrared light to specific wavelengths, we can ensure less signal disturbance and easier distinction from natural ambient light, resulting in the highest performing distance sensors for their given size and weight.

Terabee ToF sensor modules utilize infrared LEDs which are eye-safe and energy-efficient, while providing broader fields of view than lasers, offering a larger detection area per pixel. Our single 2D infrared sensors have a 2 to 3° field of view (FoV), which provides a more stable data stream for improved consistency of results in many applications.

Over the years we have mastered the product of sensor modules using indirect ToF technology. Thanks to our in-house R&D, Product Development, Production and Logistics departments, we have managed to push the boundaries of this technology for increased precision, longer range and smaller size, offering great value to customers at competitive prices.

We also offer multidirectional sensor module arrays, combining the functionalities of multiple ToF sensors for simultaneous monitoring of multiple directions in real-time, which is especially useful for short-range anti-collision applications. Our unique Hub comes with different operating modes to avoid crosstalk issues and transmit data from up to 8 sensors to a machine.

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