Omnidirectional sensor for robotic and industrial platforms

June 23, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Omnidirectional sensor for robotic and industrial platforms
Manufacturing services company Jabil has announced that its optical design center in Jena, Germany is currently developing a novel omnidirectional sensor for robotic and industrial platforms.

The new 3D time-of-flight (ToF) omnidirectional depth sensor with a 360° x 60° field of view combines a custom optical assembly with an innovative active illumination approach. The solid-state design, says the company, is one of several sensing systems that its optical business unit (Jabil Optics) is designing to support lower-cost autonomous mobile robotics and collaborative robotics platforms.

In contrast to conventional ToF cameras, the immersive field of view of the company's omnidirectional sensor allows for seamless detection and tracking of objects in a robot's path, aimed at improving both obstacle avoidance and worker safety. Additionally, says the company, its inventive use of scene information to dynamically control illumination significantly reduces sensor noise while improving both data quality and power management.

"Our design goal is to provide customers with optimal sensor performance in the smallest, lowest cost and lowest power solution possible," says Ian Blasch, senior director of business development, Jabil Optics. "Factors such as data formats, on-sensor processing and connectivity are moving targets in the quickly evolving robotics industry. Our beta-testing program for the omnidirectional sensor will allow us to continue to collect targeted feedback from customers and partners in the robotics ecosystem."

Donnacha O’Riordan, director of Analog Devices Inc. (ADI), adds, "A mission of Analog Devices is to enable the autonomous mobile robot revolution by providing high performance and highly differentiated signal chains that bridge the gap between the analog and digital worlds. The Jabil omnidirectional sensor is one of the most innovative implementations of the ADI depth-sensing technology we have encountered. Jabil’s wide field-of-view, depth-sensing approach is opening up new possibilities for human interaction with robots."

The Jabil omnidirectional sensor beta development kit is available.


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