China, June 30, 2021 – ams AG (SIX: AMS), a leading global provider of optical solutions, today announced the launch of the Belago 1.1 dot matrix projector, further expanding its range of 3D sensing portfolio.
Today, robots, cobots, and automated guided vehicles are becoming more advanced and capable of performing more tasks than in the past. Technological progress in the field of 3D sensor technology is an important force driving the rapid development of this trend, especially in the field of infrared light sources for core components. The latest Belago 1.1 dot matrix projection module from ams and Osram integrates a VCSEL chip, a microlens array (MLA) and a compact and robust package for active stereo vision (ASV) in robots and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). The environment sensing is implemented in the system with excellent performance.
“Whether it’s consumer robots such as smart sweepers and autonomous lawn mowers, or industrial AGVs and autonomous mobile robots, ‘vision’ is required to move around the environment,” explains Matthias Gloor, Product Manager at ams Osram. Belago 1.1 dot projection technology helps build high-resolution panoramas of the surrounding environment, enabling efficient obstacle detection in a package that can be easily integrated by customers to provide robots with precise vision capabilities.”
Active stereo vision uses two special infrared cameras to read the patterns projected by the dot matrix onto a specific field of view that is invisible to the human eye. By comparing the perspectives of the scene from the two cameras, the depth is calculated and a high-quality 3D map is generated. If there is an object in front of the robot, it is displayed on the 3D image and allows the robot to take action, such as stopping or bypassing an obstacle.
Microlens arrays provide special lattice patterns
Infrared VCSELs and a proprietary optical system (microlens array, MLA) combine to produce 5,000 individual light spots to map the semi-random high-density lattice model of Belago 1.1. This interaction also ensures that the two infrared cameras capture high-contrast images, which in turn guarantees high-quality images of the environment. Belago 1.1 emits light at a wavelength of 940 nanometers and achieves optical powers up to 750 mW. The robot is able to detect the route distance of 1-3 meters in real time and reliably, thus avoiding collisions. Dot matrix projectors combine the VCSEL chip, microlens array and package in a single component, greatly reducing the integration effort for system manufacturers. The small size of 4.2 mm x 3.6 mm x 3.3 mm allows customers to develop space-saving system designs. In addition, an independent safety mechanism (called an interlock) is integrated to ensure eye safety. This mechanism detects if the optics are damaged or removed, and if so, turns off the light source immediately.
The Belago 1.1 dot projector used in 3D systems supports other future market applications that require high-resolution 3D images, such as facial recognition authentication for access control and payment terminals. In addition, other applications are also available, such as the use of cameras in the logistics chain to measure volume, and the realization of gesture detection in consumer electronics such as games, home fitness, and device control.
In order to evaluate the 3D performance of the Belago 1.1 dot matrix projector and the active stereo vision system built into the projection, ams Osram offers the 3D camera evaluation kit Hermes. This kit is designed to assist customers with component and system evaluation. With additional software development kits, Hermes can be easily integrated into a variety of environments to facilitate building proofs of concept in the lab. In addition to Belago 1.1, ams Osram has a portfolio of lighting modules and sensors for three 3D sensing modalities – Active Stereo Vision (ASV), Structured Light (SL) and Time of Flight (ToF).
The Belago 1.1 dot projector expands ams Osram’s comprehensive 3D sensing portfolio. The product combines a VCSEL chip, optics and a small package, greatly reducing the integration effort for system manufacturers.
Image: ams Osram
As part of an active stereo vision solution, Belago 1.1 supports the creation of high-resolution 3D maps of the environment, helping mobile robots avoid collisions with people or other vehicles (forklifts).
Image: ams Osram