3D Sensing at CES

Tuesday, January 16th 2018

This year’s annual CES show was held in Las Vegas between 9th and 12th of January.  The CES show is used to showcase upcoming products and to gauge interest in concept products by most of the world’s largest technology companies.

From CML’s point of view, the most interesting feature from the show was in the world of virtual and augmented reality.  Several companies announced new models of virtual reality headsets with many including cameras on the outside of the headset.  Currently, virtual reality headsets feature internal cameras as they are required to track eye position in order to deliver an immersive 3D experience to the user.

The addition of external cameras to headsets enables augmented reality functionality.  Augmented reality is a special effect that superimposes digital images over real ones and enables users to extend the virtual reality experience to their real world environment.  CML believes that the growing popularity of augmented reality will result in increased adoption of the technology in smartphones and will create a demand for more sophisticated content.

Although augmented reality content already exists in smartphones, its applications remain relatively narrow and primitive.  The demand for more sophisticated content will require significant enhancements in the quality of 3D sensing modules and in particular the quality of the depth map used to generate the 3D model.

At present, 3D sensing is being used in the front facing camera in the form of facial recognition.  However, users have expressed concerns over the current level of accuracy and failure rate. CML is developing new solutions which will enhance the accuracy of 3D sensing modules, therefore reducing the failure rate and delivering the improvement in the security of facial recognition applications that the market demands.

CML also believes that the demand for more advanced and varied augmented reality content will result in its inclusion into the main rear facing camera of smartphones. Rear facing 3D sensing requires a higher range and accuracy than its front facing counterpart.  This is because rear facing 3D sensing needs to deal with a far greater variety of target scenes. CML is working on a variant of its front facing 3D sensing solution to deliver the considerable enhancements required to facilitate rear facing 3D sensing and deliver a high quality, reliable augmented reality experience.