3D Time of Flight (ToF)
3D Time of Flight (ToF)



Analog Devices 3D Time of Flight (ToF):

3D time of flight (ToF) is a type of scannerless LIDAR (light detection and ranging) that uses high power optical pulses in durations of nanoseconds to capture depth information (typically over short distances) from a scene of interest.

The related technology 3D indirect time of flight (iToF) is a depth imaging system that uses a pixel array to capture depth information from a scene of interest that has been illuminated by a fixed high power modulated continuous wave laser light.

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) offers trusted, industry-leading products and solutions that enable and enhance the performance for industrial vision systems and cameras, including high resolution CMOS imaging chips (1 MP), depth computation, and processing with millimeter precision, laser drivers, and power management, along with development tools and software/firmware to aid in the quick implementation of ToF and iToF solutions. In addition, ADI provides a complete solution for depth cameras by combining the award-winning ADTF3175 ToF module and the ADSD3500 ToF depth image signal processor.

By leveraging a global partner network in developing industrial vision modules, cameras, and design services, ADI helps customers shorten time to market and time to revenue.

Empowering the Third Dimension

3D time of flight technology delivers contextual awareness to enable dynamic interfaces that elevate static 2D interactions to fully immersive 3D experiences. See how ADI’s ToF systems are bridging the physical and digital worlds to transform work, play, learning, wellness, commerce, entertainment, and more.

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Three business people in a meeting room talking to a holographic projection of another person

Time of Flight Technology Overview

An industrial vision camera measures distance by illuminating an object with a modulated light source such as a laser and a sensor that is sensitive to the laser’s wavelength for capturing reflected light. The sensor measures the time delay ∆ between when the light is emitted and when the reflected light is received by the camera. The time delay is proportional to twice the distance between the camera and the object (round-trip). Therefore, the distance can be estimated as depth = cΔ/2 where c is the speed of light.

The two most prevalent methods for measuring ∆T are the indirect continuous-wave method (CW) (iToF) and the direct pulse-based method (dToF). CW-based iToF products feature high depth quality and simplified power and depth calibration compared to pulsed dToF products. In addition, CMOS CW-based iToF products can achieve ± 3 mm resolution and high angular resolution.

Square isometric diagram of four 3D Time of Flight Cameras placed at each corner, scanning a conveyor belt with boxes being sorted by a robotic arm. The cameras are sending out a continuous wave modulated IR Laser illumination. The cameras resolve the reflected IR light at the modulated wavelength.
Diagram of time of flight measurement.

Leveraging best-in-class 3D imaging technology licensed from Microsoft Corp., ADI is building out a new portfolio focused on iToF CMOS CW-based products. ADI is leveraging its technical expertise and building upon Microsoft’s Azure Kinect technology to deliver leading iToF solutions that offer the highest depth accuracy possible, operate over farther distances, and perform robustly across environments with minimal power consumption.

3D Time of Flight Evaluation Kit

The EVAL-ADTF3175D-NXZ ToF evaluation kit showcases the ADTF3175 module with ADI’s depth ISP, the ADSD3500. The kit supports Ethernet over USB connectivity to a PC for real-time visualization, capture, and postprocessing of depth data. The kit includes host PC software (Windows) and an open-source multiplatform SDK for custom application development.

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Face on view of ADTF3175D-NXZ evaluation kit

Time of Flight Products

3D image of ADSD3100 chip carrier


1 MP, CMOS, Time of Flight, Backside Illumination Sensor

Key applications: High resolution 3D imaging for industrial automation and intralogistics

3D image of ADSD3030 chip carrier


VGA, CMOS, Time of Flight, Backside Illumination Sensor

Key applications: High accuracy 3D imaging for mobile scanners in logistics and home automation in consumer

3D image of ADSD3500 chip carrier


Time of Flight Depth Image Signal Processor

Key applications: All 3D depth sensing applications using ADI’s 3D image sensors and modules

3D image of ADTF3175 time of flight module


1 MP Time of Flight Module

Key applications: High resolution 3D depth sensing and vision systems. For example, industrial automation

Delivering Value in Key Application Areas

Industrial robots at conveyor belt filling open boxes

Industrial Automation

The use of depth sensors is becoming more ubiquitous within manufacturing, transportation, and logistics. From industrial machine vision for quality inspection and volumetric detection for asset management to navigation for autonomous manufacturing, the manufacturing industry is adopting depth sensing technologies and moving toward the highest resolution systems designed for harsh industrial environments.

Autonomous robot moving through factory floor


High resolution ToF systems are essential in allowing autonomous machines and robots to perceive their environment and plan their paths to complete their tasks optimally, reliably, and safely. Additionally, 3D imaging can enable safety features in environments where humans and collaborative robotics work together.

Worker in warehouse using a hand-held device to scan small boxes on a shelf

Logistics and Retail Automation

With the explosive growth in e-commerce, accelerating the throughput of goods through warehouses with advanced technology in logistics and automation is essential to keep up with customer demand. 3D imaging technology can aid in bringing efficiency in the process of box and object dimensioning that will not only benefit throughput but will also improve the efficiency in the transportation of goods through better freight utilization, thus contributing to achieving sustainability goals.

Online shopper wearing virtual reality headset to shop for clothing online


From augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets to capturing high resolution volumetric images for 3D movies, ToF technology is a vital part of next-generation consumer electronics. In AR/VR headsets, depth information acquired by the ToF system provides the user with an additional dimension of reality. For movie quality volumetric, imaging high resolution ToF technology in combination with traditional RGB color sensors enables high accuracy 3D rendering of scenes to deliver high quality photographic effects, enabling more realistic AR/VR features.

Driver's face being scanned whilst driving their car and using mobile device at the same time


In next-generation automobiles, ToF systems in the cabin will be able to monitor the position and the state of the driver and its passengers, taking over control and maneuvering the car to safety in cases where the driver becomes incapacitated. ToF technology will also enable gesture control systems in the user interface of automobiles, allowing the driver to answer an incoming phone call, change an audio input source, or even adjust the climate control through simple gestures of the hand or fingers.

Patient's body being scanned while lying in hospital bed with neck brace


ToF technology provides an ideal solution to assist clinical staff with patient positioning when performing critical care procedures such as MR, CT, or x-ray scanning. The accuracy of the patient’s position during these procedures can determine the reliability of the medical diagnosis and can contribute to a reduction in patient rescanning and exposure to radiation doses.