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Infineon Ties Up with pmdtechnologies for 3D Sensor Chips

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In order to bring a fresh lease of life in its operations, Infineon Technologies AG IFNNY has recently teamed up with pmdtechnologies gmbh, a leading provider of engineering support in the digital 3D imaging industry. The alliance aims at creating improved 3D image sensor chips to enliven virtual reality environment of smartphones. The companies plan to showcase their revolutionary product family, REAL3, at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 in Las Vegas.

While Infineon is providing the entire functional blocks for the system-on-chip (SoC) integration as well as supervising the manufacturing process, pmdtechnologies has agreed to extend its Time-of-Flight Principle ("ToF") pixel matrix for developing the REAL3 product family.

Additional Features

REAL3 features like optical sensitivity and power consumption have been modified significantly over the previous versions. Deployment of these on smartphones will result in highly improved virtual graphics, thereby enriching the gaming experience. Leveraging the technical prowess of REAL3, gamers can now synchronize their own hand movements and surrounding environment with the gaming world to create a pragmatic trance that gives a real life-like feel.

The latest 3D image sensor chips have been programmed to operate with infrared lights and next-generation ToF imagers using micro-lens technology that produces high sensitivity. The REAL3 family, including IRS1125C (100000 pixels), IRS1645C (38,000 pixels) and IRS1615C (19,000 pixels), entails almost similar features except their pixel resolution.

The pixel-matrix scale-down has also allowed a reduction in sensor chip area and price.  Moreover, features like spatial measurement of rooms and objects, indoor navigation and special photo effects have been included in the project, which will offer a simulated 3D world experience to users.

Due to smaller chip size, IRS1645C is ideal for use in mobile devices. Infineon and pmdtechnologies are also working jointly on Google subsidiary Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL “Project Tango”, with the “Tango” cell phones and tablets running on Infineon’s IRS1645C 3D image sensor chips.

The companies claim that IRS1125C will hit the markets in the first quarter of 2016; while the production work on smaller IRS1645C and IRS1615C is scheduled to begin in the second quarter.

Going Forward

According to market reports, the overall 3D integrated circuit market, which includes products like Memories, Sensors, MEMS and LEDs, will likely rise at a CAGR of above 79% during 2015–2019. Also, to suitably meet client requirements like indoor navigation, better image storage and higher resolution, phone manufacturers are increasingly adapting 3D motion sensors.

Infineon has always been keen on leveraging key market trends to stay ahead of its peers. We believe the growth in use of 3D sensor chips in mobile devices will continue in the future, thereby providing Infenion’s REAL3 family a major boost.

Infineon currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the industry include CEVA Inc. CEVA, FormFactor Inc. FORM and Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDTI), each carrying the same Zacks Rank as Infineon.

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