Sensing Products

3D Time of Flight (ToF) Sensors – Technology comparison

TI offers several 3D imaging solutions from 3D depth sensing to structured light, programmable light and stereoscopic vision. Explore and compare the solutions.

3D Depth Sensing

3D depth sensing provides the most direct path to obtaining the 3D point cloud and requires minimal processing for the lowest system latency of any 3D technique.


Stereoscopic vision uses two cameras to replicate vision in nature. By knowing the distance between two cameras, a 3D image can be calculated through the offset images.

Fixed structured light

Fixed structured light uses a camera to monitor the distortion of a single light pattern to measure the 3-dimensional shape of objects.

Programmable structured light

TI's DLP technology enables fully programmable light patterns which enables the industries most accurate and highest resolution 3D scanning.

Comparison of 3D imaging technologies

Time of flight Stereoscopic vision Fixed structured light Programmable structured light
Operational principle IR pulse, measure light transit time Two 2D sensors emulate human eyes Single pattern visible or IR illumination, detects distortion Multiple pattern visible or IR illumination, detects distortion
Point cloud generation Direct out of chipset High SW Processing Medium SW processing SW processing scales with # of patterns
Latency Low Medium Medium Medium
Active illumination Yes No Yes Yes – customizable spectrum
Low light performance Good Weak Good Good
Bright light performance Medium Good

Medium / weak

Depends on illumination power

Medium / weak

Depends on illumination power

Power consumption


Scales with distance

Low Medium


Scales with distance


Short to long range

Depends on laser power & modulation

Mid range

Depends on spacing between cameras

Very short to mid range

Depends on illumination power

Very short to mid range

Depends on illumination power



Roadmap to VGA

Camera Dependent Projected pattern dependent

WVGA to 1080p ->

Roadmap to WQXGA

Depth accuracy

mm to cm

Depends on resolution of sensor

mm to cm

Difficulty with smooth surface

mm to cm µm to cm
Scanning speed


Limited by sensor speed


Limited by software complexity


Limited by SW complexity

Fast / medium

Limited by camera speed


Measurement & Inspection
UI Control/ gaming
Augmented reality
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