Jabil Optics’ Omnidirectional Sensor Eyes Autonomous Robot Market

Jabil Inc. has designed and developed a novel omnidirectional sensor for robotic and industrial platforms at its renowned optical design center in Jena, Germany. It combined a custom optical assembly with an innovative active illumination approach, leading to the development of a new 3D time-of-flight (ToF) depth sensor with an industry-leading 360° × 60° field of view. The ground-breaking, solid-state design is one of several sensing systems being designed by Jabil’s optical business unit (Jabil Optics) to support lower-cost autonomous mobile robotics and collaborative robotics platforms. 

In contrast to conventional ToF cameras, the immersive field of view of Jabil’s omnidirectional sensor allows for seamless detection and tracking of objects in a robot’s path, aimed at improving both obstacle avoidance and worker safety. Additionally, Jabil’s inventive use of scene information to dynamically control illumination significantly reduces sensor noise while improving both data quality and power management.

3D ToF sensor with industry-leading field of view

The Jabil Optics team is optimizing the performance of the omnidirectional sensor to address the needs of the rapidly changing robotics industry. “Our design goal is to provide customers with optimal sensor performance in the smallest, lowest cost and lowest power solution possible,” said Ian Blasch, senior director of business development, Jabil Optics.

Omnidirectional sensor on an autonomous mobile robot

Analog Devices, Inc. also taps the features of Jabil’s omnidirectional sensor in its drive towards an autonomous mobile robot market.  “A mission of Analog Devices is to enable the autonomous mobile robot revolution by providing high performance and highly differentiated signal chains that bridge the gap between the analog and digital worlds,” said Donnacha O’Riordan, director of Analog Devices, Inc (ADI).

 “The Jabil omnidirectional sensor is one of the most innovative implementations of the ADI depth-sensing technology we have encountered. Jabil’s wide field-of-view, depth-sensing approach is opening up new possibilities for human interaction with robots.”