LG Innotek’s next cash cow: Time-of-flight module – The Investor

Electronic components maker LG Innotek said on Feb. 19 that it has started mass production of an advanced 3D sensing module that will be featured in high-end smartphones this year.

The “time-of-flight” module measures distance and identifies an object in 3D based on the speed of infrared light traveling between the sensor and certain points of the object.

It can be used in various applications, including those for user identification, gesture recognition, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

The Korean parts maker’s ToF module will be first featured on the upper front of LG Electronics’ G8 ThinkQ, which will be showcased at the MWC trade show, scheduled to kick off on Feb. 25 in Barcelona.

Other global smartphone makers are expected to adopt LG Innotek’s 3D sensor. Among the candidates is Apple, which will likely deploy the 3D sensing technology to introduce advanced VR and AR services on its new iPhones. The US firm currently utilizes a structured light camera for 3D imaging, which relatively consumes more power and shows slower performance than the ToF system.

“The ToF module, together with smartphone camera technology, will take mobile phones featuring 2D-based touch technology to the next level and offer new value for customers,” an LG Innotek official said.

The LG Group subsidiary, a long-time camera module supplier for Apple’s iPhones, is said to have a competitive edge in the emerging 3D sensor market as it has production capabilities for the world’s thinnest ToF module, measuring at 4.7 millimeters in depth, which will allow a slimmer design of mobile devices.

The global 3D imaging and sensing market is expected to grow from US$2.1 billion in 2017 to US$18.5 billion in 2023, according to the market researcher Yole Development.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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