Depth Quality Improvement with a 607 MHz Time-Compressive Computational Pseudo-dToF CMOS Image Sensor


In this paper, we present a prototype pseudo-direct time-of-flight (ToF) CMOS image sensor, achieving high distance accuracy, precision, and robustness to multipath interference. An indirect ToF (iToF)-based image sensor, which enables high spatial resolution, is used to acquire temporal compressed signals in the charge domain. Whole received light waveforms, like those acquired with conventional direct ToF (dToF) image sensors, can be obtained after image reconstruction based on compressive sensing. Therefore, this method has the advantages of both dToF and iToF depth image sensors, such as high resolution, high accuracy, immunity to multipath interference, and the absence of motion artifacts. Additionally, two approaches to refine the depth resolution are explained: (1) the introduction of a sub-time window; and (2) oversampling in image reconstruction and quadratic fitting in the depth calculation. Experimental results show the separation of two reflections 40 cm apart under multipath interference conditions and a significant improvement in distance precision down to around 1 cm. Point cloud map videos demonstrate the improvements in depth resolution and accuracy. These results suggest that the proposed method could be a promising approach for virtually implementing dToF imaging suitable for challenging environments with multipath interference.

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