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Jabil Optics Introduces Powerful Omnidirectional Sensor

Low-cost, wide field-of-view, 3D time-of-flight sensor introduced to ever-expanding robotics market

Jabil Inc. announced that its renowned optical design center in Jena, Germany is currently developing a novel omnidirectional sensor for robotic and industrial platforms. By combining a custom optical assembly with an innovative active illumination approach, a new 3D time-of-flight (ToF) depth sensor with an industry-leading 360° x 60° field of view is being developed. The ground-breaking, solid-state design is one of several sensing systems Jabil’s optical business unit (Jabil Optics) is designing to support lower-cost autonomous mobile robotics and collaborative robotics platforms.

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In contrast to conventional ToF cameras, the immersive field of view of Jabil’s omnidirectional sensor allows for seamless detection and tracking of objects in a robot’s path, aimed at improving both obstacle avoidance and worker safety. Additionally, Jabil’s inventive use of scene information to dynamically control illumination significantly reduces sensor noise while improving both data quality and power management.

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“A mission of Analog Devices is to enable the autonomous mobile robot revolution by providing high performance and highly differentiated signal chains that bridge the gap between the analog and digital worlds,” said Donnacha O’Riordan, director of Analog Devices, Inc (ADI). “The Jabil omnidirectional sensor is one of the most innovative implementations of the ADI depth-sensing technology we have encountered. Jabil’s wide field-of-view, depth-sensing approach is opening up new possibilities for human interaction with robots.”

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Market-Driven Innovation

The Jabil Optics team is optimizing the performance of the omnidirectional sensor to address the needs of the rapidly changing robotics industry. “Our design goal is to provide customers with optimal sensor performance in the smallest, lowest cost and lowest power solution possible,” said Ian Blasch, senior director of business development, Jabil Optics. “Factors such as data formats, on-sensor processing and connectivity are moving targets in the quickly evolving robotics industry. Our beta-testing program for the omnidirectional sensor will allow us to continue to collect targeted feedback from customers and partners in the robotics ecosystem.”

For nearly two decades, Jabil Optics has been recognized by leading technology companies as the premier service provider for advanced optical design, industrialization and manufacturing. With more than 170 employees across four locations, Jabil Optics’ designers, engineers and researchers specialize in solving complex optical problems for its customers in 3D sensing, augmented and virtual reality, action camera, automotive, industrial and healthcare markets. Additionally, Jabil Optics customers leverage expertise in product design, process development, testing, in-house active alignment (from Kasalis, a technology division of Jabil), supply chain management and manufacturing expertise.

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