The increasing automation in manufacturing (4.0) requires cost-efficient, intelligent optical sensors with integrated object recognition.
Currently, such a sensor based on novel 3-D time-of-flight multipixel technology with integrated object recognition is being developed by iHomeLab.
This technology can be used to improve various industrial processes: Defects on parts on a conveyor belt can be detected (quality control). Or the level of automation can be increased by detecting the exact position of the part on a conveyor belt, allowing a robot to grip parts in a wide variety of positions.
Thanks to better and more accurate recognition in 3D, it is possible to manufacture more different products on the same production line than is currently possible. This can reduce batch sizes and increase efficiency and flexibility.
Today, one-dimensional detection techniques with light beam/barrier are mainly in use. These can only detect whether a part is on a conveyor belt or not. With 3D-TOF, the shape, size and position of the part can also be detected and individually manipulated. This increases the level of efficiency in production.
As a result of the project, a technology platform with a prototype that offers a wide range of possible applications outside of industry will be created. For example, the camera technology could be used to ensure that distance limits are respected in public spaces during a pandemic. Or in orthopaedics or prosthetics, precise images of an amputation stump could be taken to adjust a prosthesis more accurately. In the medical field, an operation field can be captured three-dimensionally to be able to carry out surgeries more precisely.
The advantage of capturing with 3D-TOF over conventional 3-D scanning methods is that the image is generated very quickly with a single shot and the image is very accurate. Conventional 3-D scanners scan the object line by line, which takes a lot of time and is inaccurate because movements in the object during the scan lead to distortions.