3D Imaging With ADI Time Of Flight Technology

3D Time of Flight, or 3D ToF, is a type of scannerless LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) that uses high power optical pulses in durations of nanoseconds to capture depth information (typically over short distances) from a scene of interest. 

ADI offers industry leading products and solutions to directly enhance the capabilities of 3D ToF systems, including processing, laser drivers, and power management, along with development boards and software/firmware to aid in quick implementation of 3D ToF solutions. In addition, ADI also offers modules from our design services partners.

3D Time of Flight Technology Overview

A ToF camera measures distance by actively illuminating an object with a modulated light source such as a laser and a sensor that is sensitive to the laser’s wavelength for capturing reflected light. The sensor measures the time delay ∆ between when the light is emitted and when the reflected light is received by the camera. The time delay is proportional to twice the distance between the camera and the object (round-trip), therefore the distance can be estimated as depth = cΔ/2 where c is the speed of light. 

There are different methods for measuring ∆T, of which two have become the most prevalent: the continuous-wave (CW) method and the pulse-based method. It should be noted that the vast majority of CW ToF systems that have been implemented and are currently on the market use CMOS sensors, while pulsed ToF systems use non-CMOS sensors (notably CCDs). 

ADI is complimenting its existing components portfolio for CCD pulsed-based systems with a NEW lineup of CMOS CW-based products. ADI is building full solutions wrapped around our new CMOS imagers to deliver imaging with greater 3D detail, operating over farther distances, and performing robustly across environments.

Simple diagram of time of flight measurement.  

Example image of using time of flight measurement for people classification and range detection.  

Delivering Value in Key Application Areas


From AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) headsets to smartphones with advanced photographic and security features, 3D ToF technology is projected to become a vital part of next-generation consumer electronics.

In AR/VR headsets, depth information acquired by the 3D ToF system literally provides the user with an additional dimension of reality. In smartphones, the technology will enable cameras to develop DSLR-quality photographic effects, enable more realistic AR/VR features, and provide additional protection from unwanted external access.

Industry 4.0

The use of smart sensors, especially depth sensors, is becoming more and more ubiquitous within manufacturing, as well as transportation and logistics. From industrial machine vision for quality inspection, to volumetric detection for asset management, to navigation for autonomous manufacturing, the manufacturing industry is adopting these sensing technologies and moving toward highest resolution systems designed for harsh industrial environments.


In next-generation automobiles, 3D ToF systems in the cabin will be able to monitor the position and the state of the driver and its passengers, taking over control and maneuvering the car to safety in cases where the driver becomes incapacitated. 

Gesture control systems, made possible through 3D ToF technology, are said to be the next-generation user interface for the car, allowing the driver to answer an incoming phone call, change an audio input source, or even adjust the climate control through simple gestures of the hand or fingers.


Time of flight technology for remote distance and depth measurement has become more important in healthcare in light of the recent pandemic. Contactless manipulation of controls through gestures, the remote monitoring of infant respiration, and the monitoring of social distancing in various environments are just some of the few applications in which ADI time of flight technology can be used.

Security and Surveillance

ADI's high resolution depth sensing technology offers significant advantages over traditional 2D image sensing techniques. High resolution depth makes it easier to classify both people and objects with much higher levels of confidence. This can be leveraged into many application use cases, from commercial/retail entry/exit (for security and surveillance) to detecting people falling or hurting themselves (for medical applications).

3D ToF Products


CCD TOF Signal Processor with Programmable Timing and V-Driver 
Key Applications: 3D ToF Processor

More details

3D Time of Flight Development Platform

Modular ToF solution, built on the industry-standard 96Boards platform, which enables measuring objects in the X, Y, and Z axis.

Visit the AD-96TOF1-EBZ Product Page

3D Time of Flight Platform Makes Machine Perception a Reality

Analog Devices prototyping 3D ToF platform can be used for software and algorithm development. As a start for the hardware design, the platform can be used for more rapid evaluation and implementation in Industrial, Automotive, and more.

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