New Bosch Sensortec MEMS Device 3D Scans Using Time-of-Flight

Bosch Sensortec has announced the BLM050 Microscanner for interactive focus-free laser projection and capable of transforming any surface into a virtual user interface.

“The exciting developments in the Internet of Things are advancing at an amazing pace and Bosch Sensortec continues to drive innovations,” says Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec, “It is not just about how devices communicate or sense their surrounding environments, but increasingly about how technology interacts with human beings. Laser projected virtual interfaces are a new fascinating solution in a world of previously undreamed of opportunities.”

The device enables focus-free laser projection and turns any surface into a virtual user interface enabling technology to interact with people. Bosch says this is an important feature for the Internet of Things (IoT). The BML050 MEMS device can also be used for embedded projectors and augmented reality applications.

At just 6mm high the new MEMS device from Bosch is small enough for wearables and is to find a host of applications where ever a human-machine interface is required—on the factory floor, industrial equipment, robotics, medical devices, infotainment and in vehicle heads-up displays.

With the BML050 microscanner Bosch Sensortec is extending its current portfolio by optical microsystems. The scanner includes two tiny MEMS mirrors to project an RGB color laser onto any surface to create a projected image. The BML050 is both compact and power efficient, making it ideal for space- and power-restricted devices.

Bosch Sensortec provides a ready to use projector reference design including an RGB light source. This facilitates fast evaluation and saves design-in time to give early adopters an important head start. Interactivity is enabled by a photo diode that measures the reflected light intensity pixel by pixel – no calibration required.

Bosch Sensortec’s solution provides outstanding projection quality by means of advanced speckle reduction and precise control of the MEMS scanning mirrors and laser diodes. The BLM050 is based on an integrated IR-RGB (infrared, red, green, blue) with HD resolution. Its two MEMS scanning mirrors (one for X-direction and one for Y-direction) can both project images and collect the reflected light so as to determine where a user’s finger is touching the projected image. The technique also can be adapted to 3D scanning using time-of-flight calculations on the reflected light from an object.

The Bosch MEMS scanner is based on a well-established and robust core technology housed in compact wafer-level module packages. At the core of the system are two independent, hermetically-encapsulated MEMS scanning mirrors, which are optically aligned for fast and easy integration. The BML050 also includes a video processor, control circuits, laser drivers and power management ICs.

The BML050 will be available for selected customer projects in the second half of 2017.

A video explaining the principles of the MEMS device can be viewed below.