ams launches dToF module enabling smartphone distance measurement

Ams Tmf8801

TMF8801 enables laser detection autofocus for a smartphone camera to zero in on the target with accurate distance measurement even when the cover glass is smudged or dirty

Premstaetten, Austria. ams has announced the release of what the company calls the world’s smallest integrated module for direct time-of-flight (ToF) distance measurement providing accurate measurements from 2 cm up to 2.5 m.

The TMF8801 is more than 30% smaller than competing ToF sensors, ams says, yet offers superior performance in important parameters including accuracy and usability in the presence of sunlight. Competing ToF sensors struggle to accurately measure distance below dirty or smudged cover glass whereas the TMF8801 maintains high accuracy through use of its on-chip histogram processing. 

“The new TMF8801 direct ToF sensor, which complements the TMF8701 short-range ToF sensor released in 2018, provides extended distance range sensing for smartphones,” said Dave Moon, senior product marketing manager in the integrated optical sensors business line at ams. 

“The TMF8801 is ideally suited to provide support for improving world-facing mobile-phone camera performance using laser detection autofocus (LDAF), enabling mobile phone users to take pin-sharp photos and selfies.”

Ams Tmf8801amsWith an integrated VCSEL infrared emitter, multiple SPAD (single photon avalanche photo-diode) light detectors, time-to-digital converter, and on-chip microcontroller for processing histograms, the TMF8801 delivers superior ToF performance. Compared to distance averaging employed with an indirect ToF system, the direct ToF time measurement methodology used in the TMF8801 delivers higher accuracy true-distance measurements.

When used to support LDAF, high accuracy distance measurements deliver improved camera performance: sharper, in-focused images under any ambient lighting conditions, and accurate adjustment of the camera flash brightness to improve picture quality.

Not just for smartphones—further applications

The small size and low power consumption of the TMF8801 is suitable for fast-ranging collision avoidance detection used in autonomous vacuum cleaners, and industrial robotics. For display-based products such as mobile computing, the TMF8801 can be used for user presence detection to automatically wake up or put the system into a low-power sleep mode based on the presence or absence of a user. 

The TMF8801 is housed in a 2.2-mm x 3.6-mm x 1.0-mm package and is in volume production. 

Unit pricing is $2.89 in order quantities of 5,000 pieces. 

For sample requests and the evaluation board for the TMF8801, contact ams sales representatives.

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