Toposens provides Ultrasonic Vision for Technology
Toposens develops 3D sensors based on ultrasound. So far, ultrasound technology has only been used by bats (to detect their surroundings via ultrasonic echolocation) and for precise distance measurement in industrial applications. Toposens is going to change that by providing the first 3D ultrasound sensor system worldwide.
The sensor system uses the principle of echolocation, similar to the bat. Ultrasound signals are emitted by the sensor and reflected by the objects in the sensor’s range. The signals travel back to the sensor and an algorithm turns the runtimes into 3D position information in real time. The output of the sensors are x, y and z coordinates in absolute units, together with an approximate size of the objects. These algorithms are the main know how, which enable 3D tracking of objects and people.
3D Ultrasound enables improved interaction with technology
Toposens is operating in the automotive, consumer electronics and people analytics sectors. In the field of automotive, the Toposens 3D ultrasound sensor can provide a very detailed view of the car’s near-field surroundings and thus enable automated driving for low speed. This collision avoidance can also be applied analogously to other autonomously moving vehicles, such as industrial, logistics or household robots that need to find their way around on their own.
In the consumer electronics industry, Toposens can provide sophisticated gesture control for improved interaction between humans and technology. The sensor can be integrated into TVs, computers, kitchen appliances and even smartphones and thereby enable controlling these electronic devices via gestures.
The sensor can also be used for people analytics, i.e. detecting, counting and tracking people within smart buildings. The resulting data can be used to optimize retail store designs, automatically control heating and lighting in smart offices or for smart home applications.
Advantages of 3D Ultrasound
The advantages of Toposens 3D sensors over existing 3D sensor solutions are manifold. The 3D Ultrasound sensors are small, lightweight and need very little power. They are very robust and can see in the dark as well as under difficult lighting conditions and through dust and dirt. Further, the sensor protects people’s privacy, as it does not identify any personal features. Therefore, operators do not have to worry about the sensor’s obtrusiveness. They can simply use the sensor as a passive sensor solution without harming anyone’s privacy. Finally, the sensor can be produced for a very competitive price, as it consists of standard hardware parts and does not need any expensive components.
These specifications make Toposens 3D ultrasound sensors suitable for mobile and near-field applications that require great robustness and low cost. 3D ultrasound sensing thus enables innovative applications and improves existing ones by adding reliability or lowering costs.
Finally, people can “see” via sound – an ability that is especially important for robots, as they can now integrate ultrasonic machine vision, which enables them to better interact with their environment.