Ideal for 3D Distance Measurement Due
to High Ambient Light Immunity and
Flexible Assembly
3D TOF Sensor Module
B5L

Summary

A TOF (Time of Flight) sensor uses the flight time of light to measure the distance to an object. It is equipped with a circuit that is not easily affected by external light thanks to its modulated light system.
OMRON's TOF sensor has four features: ambient light immunity, high precision, long life, and interference prevention. In particular, the feature of ambient light immunity makes it possible to measure the distance of a detected object from near to far, from low reflectance to high reflectance, regardless of whether it is exposed to strong sunlight or not.
It is ideal for applications such as AMR/Service robots and long-term care observation.

What is a TOF Sensor?

TOF sensor stands for Time of Flight sensor, also known as TOF camera or 3D camera.
The principle of the TOF sensor is to measure the distance between the TOF sensor and the detected object by measuring the time it takes for the light emitted from the TOF sensor to reflect off the detected object and return to the TOF sensor. Therefore, it is not easily affected by the reflectance of the detected object.
When the image captured by the TOF sensor is visualized in three dimensions, the dots in the reflected image are created from the distance data for each pixel output from the TOF sensor.

Omron's B5L, 3D TOF Sensor can output the distance data for each pixel in the required output data format.
The B5L TOF Sensor can measure up to 20 times per second (20 fps), making it possible to use continuous output data to track the movement of an object in three dimensions.

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What is a TOF Sensor?

Differences Between Conventional 2D Cameras and 3D TOF Sensor

Conventional 2D cameras display the captured image in two dimensions, making it difficult to use in applications that require privacy concerns. In addition, the data does not include distance data.
On the other hand, the 3D TOF sensor can output distance data, which can be displayed in two and three dimensions by color-coding each distance.
The image displayed on the left side of the video shows the distance data from the 3D TOF sensor in two dimensions, with the closest distance being red, followed by yellow, green, and the farthest distance being blue.
The image displayed on the right side of the movie shows the distance data from the 3D TOF sensor in three dimensions, where the data is plotted in color for each distance.
Images from the 3D TOF sensor contain distance data only, making them useful for deployment in privacy-sensitive applications.

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Differences from conventional cameras

The use of extensive distance information enables the sensor to identify its peripheral environment.

    • Watch the video here
  • 3D TOF Sensor sample movie

Features of OMRON's 3D TOF Sensor

(1) Ambient light immunity

  • Using OMRON's B5L TOF Sensor, we compared the measured distances of detected objects indoors and outdoors. Detection objects whose upper half were black and lower half were white, and placed them at 1m, 2m, and 4m, respectively. The black color assumes a low-reflectance object with little reflected light over a long distance, while the white color assumes a high-reflectance object that is easily saturated over a short distance.
  • Measurements taken outdoors and indoors with OMRON's B5L TOF Sensor show that there is no significant difference in the measurement distance between black (low reflectance) and white (high reflectance) objects placed at 1 to 4 meters.
    In other words, the powerful ambient light immunity ensures stable detection performance of objects with low to high reflectance even in bright places.
  • Ambient light immunity :Outdoor
    Ambient light immunity :Indoor
  • Influence of sunlight
    Influence of sunlight

Shown below are the results of measuring the distance using OMRON's B5L TOF Sensor when a person walks indoors.
A comparison was made using OMRON's B5L TOF Sensor, with and without sunlight, of a person approaching from the back of the screen and then returning to the back of the screen.
The video on the left shows the distance measured by OMRON’s B5L TOF Sensor in the presence of sunlight, and the video on the right shows the distance measured in the absence of sunlight.
In both videos, the image on the lower right is the result of displaying the output of OMRON‘s B5L TOF Sensor in two dimensions: red for short distances, yellow to green for longer distances, and blue for the longest distances. This indicates that it can measure the distance of detected objects from short to long distances, from low to high reflectance, and both with strong sunlight and without sunlight.

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  • With ambient light
  • Without ambient light

(2) High precision

  • The distance data of OMRON's B5L TOF Sensor is individually compensated in the process to achieve a high accuracy of ±2% at 2 meters, making it easy for customers to control and process the distance data in their devices.
  • Distance accuracy in angle direction
    Distance accuracy in angle direction
  • Distance accuracy
    Distance accuracy

(3) Long life

  • Omron’s TOF Sensor has long life equivalent to 5 years under continuous driving.∗1

    Three measures have been implemented to extend the service life:

    • Highly-reliable and long-life components used in Factory Automation applications
    • LED light-emitting circuit with LED current under a constant-current circuit configuration that is not affected by the operating environment or power supply voltage
    • Ensured heat dissipation by a heat sink to reduce the heat generated by electronic components and keep them below a certain temperature
  • TOF Sensor Module

(4) Interference prevention

The mutual interference prevention function allows the use of up to 17 units simultaneously (the industry's top class∗2). Ideal for applications that require the use of multiple devices such as using robots at the same time.
Details are here.

For Developers
For DevelopersWith interference prevention function, High Dynamic Range, 3D Conversion, Edge Noise Reduction

Application examples

When the 3D TOF sensor is used as the eye of a machine, periphery recognition is possible by recognizing the volume and shape of the three-dimensional space, tracking the traffic lines, and understanding the behavior.
The 3D TOF sensor outputs distance data pixel by pixel for periphery recognition.

  • AMR/Service robots

    Drop detection/Environment recognition

    Drop detection/
    Environment recognition

    Periphery recognition/Human recognition

    Periphery recognition/
    Human recognition

    For safe and efficient operation of AMR/Service robots, the sensor can be used for obstacle detection and shape recognition.

  • Observation

    Behavioral understanding and observation of patients under long-term care 01
    Behavioral understanding and observation of patients under long-term care 02

    Behavioral understanding and observation
    of patients under long-term care

    The sensor can be used to reduce the burden of patrolling and monitoring, as there is a need to address labor shortage in the nursing care industry and the need to save manpower in a rapidly aging society. The TOF sensor can be used to monitor the condition of the person being cared for without invasion of privacy and even under conditions equivalent to 100,000 lux of sunlight intensity.

  • Logistics and conveyance

    Volume and shape measurement

    Volume and shape measurement

    Empty space detection

    Empty space detection

    The sensor can be used for volume and shape measurement and empty space detection in logistics and conveyance.

  • Automatic doors/elevators

    Automatic doors
    elevators

    Counting people and tracking traffic flows
     

    In automatic doors and elevators, the sensor can be used to count the number of people and track the traffic flow.