Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

DepthVista Time-of-Flight camera - Specification and Performance

1. What is DepthVista?

DepthVista is a series of cameras from e-con Systems that operates using the pulsed indirect Time-of-Flight technology. These cameras are targeted at embedded vision applications that require accurate depth measurements such as autonomous mobile robots and autonomous guided vehicles. The first addition to this series is the recently launched DepthVista - a 3D time of flight camera that uses the USB 3 interface to connect to the host platform.

2. What's the depth resolution and frame rate supported by DepthVista?

This time of flight camera supports a resolution of 640x480 at a frame rate of 30 fps for depth measurement. This meets the resolution and frame rate requirements of majority of the embedded vision applications that need depth-sensing - such as autonomous mobile robots, autonomous tractors, people counting systems, remote patient monitoring systems, etc.

3. What's the light source used in this camera?

This camera uses 2 VCSEL laser diodes that work in the NIR (Near InfraRed) spectrum (850nm) and is safe for human eyes. Hence DepthVista doesn't cause any health threat in places like warehouses, retail stores, hotels, etc.

4. Does this camera require any ambient lighting for depth measurement?

As the VCSEL LEDs work in the NIR range, this camera doesn't require any ambient light for optimal performance. It is capable of producing accurate depth images even in absolute darkness. This makes DepthVista suitable for use in environments (or certain areas of an environment) where the light supply is limited or restricted.

5. What's the depth range supported by this ToF camera?

DepthVista comes in two modes - the far mode and the close-range mode. The far mode supports depth measurement between 1 and 6 meters while the close-range mode can capture depth data from 20 centimeters to 1.2 meters.

6. What's the maximum accuracy that can be achieved?

DepthVista is designed for high precision to ensure autonomous and guided vehicles are able to safely navigate in their environments. The camera offers an accuracy of <1%, which is one of the best in the industry.

7. Can the depth range be improved further?

Yes. Depth range can be improved by changing the no of VCSEL LEDs and their intensity. This is going to involve a customization effort. For any help with customizing this time of flight camera, please write to us at camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com. You could also visit the camera customization page to learn more about the customization services we offer.

8. Does this camera use onboard image processing for depth measurement?

Yes. This camera delivers precise 3D depth imaging in real time leveraging onboard image processing. Unlike traditional stereo cameras, this reduces the computational load on the host side, making more processing power available for other activities. This enables product developers to build a more efficient embedded vision device.

9. Is this camera suitable for outdoor environments?

As the laser diodes used in this camera operate in the 850nm NIR range, the likelihood of interference from sunlight is very high if you use it in outdoor applications. Hence, this camera is more suitable for indoor environments such as warehouses, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing floors, etc.

10. Can I get a camera with 940nm VCSELs instead of the 850nm LEDs?

Yes. e-con is working on the next version of this camera that would come with 940nm VCSEL LEDs. Please write to camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com in case you are looking for this solution right away.

ToF + RGB Sensor

11. Does this camera provide RGB data as well along with the 3D data?

Yes. This camera comes integrated with a Full HD RGB sensor along with the ToF sensor. Both the 3D depth and RGB images are delivered in a single frame over the USB interface. The RGB sensor used is AR0234 - color global shutter sensor from onsemi®.

12. What is the purpose of obtaining an RGB image in a 3D camera?

A 3D depth camera captures depth data to form either a depth map or a point cloud. However, if you wish to recognize objects in the scene (of which you are measuring depth), the camera should be capable of capturing RGB data as well. For instance, in a people counting system, along with measuring the distance at which people are standing in a scene, you also need to count the number of humans in it.

To learn more about why RGB data is required in depth cameras and why it is important for certain embedded vision applications, please visit the article Advantages of having RGB and depth data in a single time of flight camera.

13. Are these ToF and RGB sensors synchronized?

Yes. Both these sensors work synchronously to make the best use of the depth and RGB data streams.

14. I don't need the RGB sensor that comes out of the box with this camera. Is it possible to get the camera without it?

Yes. The camera can be customized to have just the ToF sensor. For any customization requirements, please write to us at camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com.

15. Does this camera provide point cloud data as well?

DepthVista provides depth data, RGB data and IR data in a single frame. Point cloud and disparity map can be produced on the host platform using these.

Interface, Host support, and Software

16. Is this camera UVC compliant?

Yes. This 3D ToF depth camera is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 camera and hence is UVC compliant.

17. Does e-con support ToF cameras with MIPI interface?

Currently this time of flight camera comes with the USB interface. MIPI and GMSL2 versions will be launched soon. However, if you are looking for the MIPI or GMSL2 versions immediately, please write to camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com to discuss how we can help.

18. What's the software provided along with this camera?

e-con Systems is providing the ToFCam SDK with a sample application for easy setup and integration of DepthVista. This SDK allows you to develop your own 3D applications easily.

19. What are the operating systems supported for this camera?

Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04.

20. Are there any post processing filters supported with this software?

Yes. Following filters are supported:

  • 1. Temporal filter
  • 2. Planarization filter
  • 3. Smoothening filter
  • 4. Edge detection filter

21. Can this 3D camera be used with ROS for robotics?

This is currently work in progress. Please write to camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com for the latest updates on this.

22. Can this Time-of-Flight camera be integrated with NVIDIA Jetson platforms?

This is work in progress as well. Please write to camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com to know more about the Jetson processors that will be supported for DepthVista.

Enclosure

23. Does this 3D camera come with an enclosure?

Yes. This camera comes with a metal enclosure.

24. Does this depth camera come with an IP67-rated enclosure?

As this camera is primarily aimed to be used in indoor environments, IP67-rated enclosure might not be required in most of the cases. In case you need an IP67-rated enclosure for dusty indoor environments, e-con Systems can customize the camera to offer the same. Please write to camerasolutions@e‑consystems.com for any help with this.

e-con already has a wide portfolio of IP67 rated cameras that are suitable for use in harsh industrial and outdoor environments. PFB the link to these products:

  • STURDeCAM25 - IP67 rated Full HD GMSL2 color global shutter camera module
  • STURDeCAM20 - IP67 rated Full HD GMSL2 HDR camera module
  • SmarteCAM - IP66 rated ready to deploy AI smart camera

In addition to the above, e-con can customize any camera in its portfolio with an IP66/67 enclosure. Please visit the Camera Selector to have a look at e-con's complete portfolio of cameras.

25. I don't need an enclosure for this camera as I want to integrate it with the enclosure I designed on my own. So, is it possible to get this camera without the enclosure?

Yes. It's possible to get this camera without the enclosure and it will be a custom solution. However, it is to be noted that the enclosure can have an impact on the camera calibration. It is very likely that re-calibration is required once it is integrated with the enclosure of your choice.