Time of Flight 101: Here Is What You Need To Know
Time of Flight, also known as ToF, has been around for some time now. It is evident in flagship smartphones. You may have encountered it in the form of a 3 D sensor or a range camera.
What is Time of Flight?
Before taking further strides, it is best to understand what Time of Flight is clearly.
It is the measurement of the duration taken by an object, wave, or particle to travel a distance. To be clear, Time of Flight operates in the same manner as a bat sonar system.
How does Time of Flight work?
Time of Flight Cameras and lasers use a technology referred to as Lidar, which in full is light detection and ranging. Lidar is a remote sensing technique that depends on the light in pulsed lasers to measure ranges.
It aids in measuring the depth of different points in an image. It achieves this by illuminating the images with infrared light.
Here are the benefits of a ToF sensor
It offers fast and precise measurements
Have you heard of ultrasonic or laser sensors? ToF sensors are far much better as they compose a 3D image of a scene quickly. In just one shot, a ToF camera captures a 3D image. Also, ToF sensors can detect objects within a short time.
The best part is that Tof sensors are not affected by humidity, temperature, or air pressure. This makes it favorable for all kinds of activities both indoors and outdoors.
ToF sensors use lasers. Hence, they can measure long distances and ranges with incredible precision.
With ToF, you can rest assured to take clear shots of objects both near and far, irrespective of their shapes and sizes. It makes it easy to customize optics for optimal performance. You get to select receiver and emitter types and licensing; hence, you can obtain the field of view you want.
It is Safe
Most rays are harmful to one’s body. It is expected that anyone would be concerned about the lasers emanating from the ToF sensor. You should know that sensors use low-power infrared laser lights as their primary source of light. The light drives via a modulated pulse.
It comes at a pocket-friendly price
You cannot compare ToF sensors to other 3D depth range scanning technologies such as laser range finders or structured light camera systems. ToF sensors are affordable.
What is the limitation of ToF
ToF has many benefits but also harbors a few limitations.
Light is scattered
Tof sensors don’t do very well around bright surfaces. The main reason is that such bright surfaces scatter too much light into your receiver, creating unwanted reflections. A ToF sensor works best with light that is reflected only once.
It gives multiple reflections
Apart from bright surfaces, corners and concave shapes don’t work well with ToF sensors. They tend to cause too many reflections, which distorts measurement.
ToF cameras can disappoint if used under bright sunlight. This happens because of the sun’s high intensity that causes quick saturation of sensor pixels where the actual light is reflected, making it hard for objects to get detected.
The above limitations can’t override the fact that ToF is a quick and reliable way to capture 3D information.