Depth sensing for mobile applications

Smartphones have transitioned into powerful computing devices. Users will realize the ability to capture 3D images and video from their mobile device, giving them unprecedented freedom to produce their own 3D content for a wide range of applications: 3D selfies, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, gaming, etc.

According to IDC, by 2018, 85% of the global image capture volume will come from mobile devices. Users increasingly want more features and functionality from the camera in their mobile phone, because that’s the ever-present camera in their pocket.

Not only is the Pelican sensor perfectly suited for mobile by virtue of its super-thin form factor (2.5-3mm), but because the sensor has no auto-focus mechanism and no moving parts, it’s capable of extremely fast shooting. When paired with the primary camera in a mobile device, the Pelican array can actually be used to decrease the shutter lag in the primary camera as well, while yielding beautiful, high-res, all-in-focus images.

This unique "array + main camera" approach allows mobile handset manufacturers to choose their own primary camera module (whether it’s 8MP, 13MP, or 20MP), and benefit from excellent image quality paired with the depth data from the scene. See examples above of an image captured with the Pelican array paired with an iPhone 6 - the result is a crisp, high resolution image with a highly accurate depth map.

Mobile device manufacturers can differentiate their products from simple stereo camera arrangements by being one of the first to offer customers a meaningful depth capture solution. For a closer look at how mobile handset makers can realize the benefits of the Pelican depth-sensing array, see the IDC report: How Computational Photography Can Drive Profits in the Mobile Device Market. 

Still images can be edited with ease. Because the image contains depth information, it’s extremely simple to refocus the photo, or select multiple objects of focus. Pelican’s software also enables users to capture quick distance measurements, adjust lighting, apply filters to all or part of the image, and easily replace backgrounds or combine photos. 

Mobile Devices Will Either Have 3D Sensors Or Suffer Flat Sales...
— TechCrunch, September 2015