Apple sets the trend for lidars for smartphones. SK Hynix is ​​developing a similar sensor

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Apple sets the trend for lidars for smartphones. SK Hynix is ​​developing a similar sensor

As you know, lidars appeared in the Apple iPhone 12 Pro smartphones. In fact, these are the so-called time-of-flight cameras (in English, Time of Flight, or TOF). Previously, Samsung and LG tried to equip their smartphones with TOF cameras but failed to interest consumers in this technology. Apple will be interested, there is no doubt about it. It also implies that the TOF market is facing explosive growth, which should attract interested manufacturers.

hynix_tof
hynix_tof

At the SEDEX 2020 (Semiconductor Exhibition) that opened in Seoul yesterday, SK Hynix, a newcomer to the image sensor market, demonstrated a self-developed TOF sensor or time-of-flight camera, according to South Korean sources. The development is not ready for mass production but confirms the movement of SK Hynix towards new markets – image sensors in general and solutions for augmented and virtual reality, as well as towards machine vision and imaging systems.

Over the past few years, SK Hynix has been striving to reduce its dependence on the DRAM and NAND memory market. The company reconfigured part of its production lines to produce image sensors. Today it owns only 2% of this market, but SK Hynix has plans for a stable expansion of its share.

The new TOF smartphone camera market will also help the company diversify its semiconductor manufacturing. But even stronger, the demand for depth cameras will give rise to machine vision, the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and much more related to the digitization of reality. Once the joke “photographed on a sneaker” can become a harsh reality. Shoes of the near future may well acquire sight to identify obstacles, for example, when walking in the dark.

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