Earlier this week, Sony subsidiary SoftKinetic announced the release of a new 3D depth sensing camera for mobile platforms. The DepthSense 541 is touted as being the world’s smallest depth-sensing time-of-flight camera for mobile platforms.
The company has not released details about the actual size of the camera, though they call it the “world’s thinnest high resolution ToF camera form factor that offers the fastest multi-point autofocus performance available in extreme low light conditions, even on objects without contrast.”
In other words, the sensor is optimized for use in mobile platforms under everyday conditions and for sensing everyday objects—which may not have enough contrast for other small scanning solutions.
SoftKinetic says the sensors “are smart enough to understand the most subtle of human gestures and the shape, size, and behavior of objects.” They also have the ability to “turn raw data into real time, 3D images, as well as grayscale confidence and depth-map images.”
What do you use the sensors for? 3D scanning, of course, but their press materials spend more time talking up the potential consumer uses. For one, they say it offers DSLR-quality depth of field and background replacement, indoor navigation, location-based gaming, as well as an interface for hand interaction with augmented reality and virtual reality devices.
Now that Sony is in on mass-producing 3D cameras for mobile devices, it must only be a matter of time before they’re commonplace—and that’s going to be a big deal.