II-VI and Artilux Demonstrate 3D Camera Aimed at Metaverse

Semiconductor laser specialist II-VI and imaging technology company Artilux demonstrated a next-generation 3D camera with longer range and higher image resolution, geared toward enhancing user experience in the metaverse.

Investments in the metaverse infrastructure are accelerating and driving the demand for sensors that enable more realistic and immersive virtual experiences. II-VI and Artilux combined their proprietary technologies in indium phosphide (InP) semiconductor lasers and GeSi sensor arrays, respectively, to demonstrate a miniature 3D camera that operates in the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR), at 1380 nm, granting significantly higher performance than existing cameras operating at 940 nm.

The longer infrared wavelength provides better contrasts and reveals material details that are otherwise not visible with shorter-wavelength illumination, especially in outdoor environments,” said Julie Sheridan, senior vice president of II-VI’s optoelectronic devices and modules business unit.

Designing a camera operating at 1380 nm as opposed to 940 nm enables greater brightness while remaining well within the margins of eye safety requirements, she said. Background light interference is also reduced, which greatly improves the signal-to-noise ratio, as well as enabling longer range and better image resolution.

According to Artilux CTO Neil Na, the miniature SWIR 3D camera can be seamlessly integrated into next-generation consumer devices. “The SWIR camera demonstration provides a glimpse of the future of 3D sensing in the metaverse, with displays that can identify, delineate, classify, and render image content, or with avatars that can experience real-time eye contact and facial expressions,” he said.

II-VI provided the highly integrated SWIR illumination module comprising InP edge-emitting lasers that deliver up to 2 W of output power and optical diffusers, in surface-mount technology packages for low-cost and high-quality assembly. Artilux’s camera features a high-bandwidth and high-quantum-efficiency GeSi SWIR sensor array based on a scalable CMOS technology platform. Combined, the technologies enable a broad range of depth-sensing applications in consumer and automotive markets.