3D Camera

© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany, Itzehoe
© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany, Itzehoe



Fraunhofer ISIT has developed a 3D camera in the field of optical MEMS with a depth resolution of a few millimeters based on 2D MEMS scanners. Existing 3D imaging systems based on focal plane arrays with modulated light sources suffer from limited resolution, relatively high energy consumption of the light sources and possible interference with other systems, making them unsuitable for current requirements such as in the field of autonomous driving. These limitations can be overcome by using a MEMS scanner with a directional laser beam. Current LIDAR scanning systems with electrostatic MEMS achieve a scan angle of 40° in both directions, while Fraunhofer ISIT's new generation of piezoelectric-driven MEMS scanners can achieve extreme optical scan angles close to 180° due to the high torque provided by the piezoelectric material. The achievable scanning speed and the ability to integrate two scanning axes in a very compact device are fundamental advantages of MEMS scanning mirrors over conventional galvanometric scanners.


In the first demonstration - consisting of a 2D MEMS scanner, a digitally modulated laser, detection optics and the APD sensor - the following specifications were achieved:

  • Resolution: 450 pixels x 450 pixels
  • Frame rate: 6 fps (currently limited by the viewing software)
  • Detection range: 0.1 m - 8 m
  • Relative depth measurement accuracy: 5 mm - 10 mm
  • Sampling rate: 80 MHz 
  • UDP Ethernet interface
  • The laser beam is directed at an angle of 22.5° to the scanning mirror
© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany, Itzehoe
© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany, Itzehoe
© Fraunhofer ISIT/ Eric Shambroom Photography 2020