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PMD Technologies

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PMD Technologies ag
FormerlyS-Tec (since 1996)
IndustryFabless Semiconductor
Founded2002 (2002)
FoundersProf. Dr. Rudolf Schwarte,
Audi Electronics Venture GmbH
Key people
Prof. Dr. Bernd Buxbaum
Dr. Thomas May
Jochen Penne
Products3D CMOS Image sensors
Number of employees
150 (2021)[1]

PMD Technologies (stylised as pmdtechnologies) is a developer of CMOS semiconductor 3D time-of-flight (ToF) components and a provider of engineering support in the field of digital 3D imaging.[2] The company is named after the Photonic Mixer Device (PMD) technology used in its products to detect 3D data in real time. The corporate headquarters of the company is located in Siegen, Germany.


PMD Technologies was founded in 2002 by Rudolf Schwarte and the Audi Electronics Venture GmbH[3] as a spin-off of the Center for Sensor Systems (ZESS) at the University of Siegen, Germany. It was the result of over 10 years of scientific research on 3D ToF imaging.[4] Another ZESS spin-off, S-Tec Sensor GmbH, founded in 1996, began developing PMD products in 1997. This company was acquired by PMD Technologies in 2002.

Basic patents for TOF-chips with new Photomischelemente (i.e. Photonic Mixer Elements resp. Devices) were filed in 1996 onwards by Prof. Rudolf Schwarte.[5] A 3D Depth Camera with Time of Flight PMD sensors was available in the year 2000.[6]

In 2002, together with three other nominees, the developing team of PMD Technologies, represented by Rudolf Schwarte, Bernd Buxbaum, and Torsten Gollewski was nominated for the German Future Prize, which is issued by the President of Germany, at that time Johannes Rau.[7][8]

At the Hanover Fair in 2005 PMD Technologies was awarded with the innovation prize called Hermes Award for its Efector PMD.[9]

In 2009, PMD Technologies received the 2009 European Real-Time 3D Imaging Enabling Technology Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan.[10]

PMD Technologies took part in Google's Project Tango in 2015.[11] Resulting in the first Lenovo device being released in 2016 with PMD's 3D technology.[12]

In 2019, new offices were opened in Seoul, Korea and Shanghai, China.[13]


After initially focusing on industrial applications,[14][15] PMD Technologies began to spread their application areas into other fields, including the automotive sector,[16][17] consumer electronics, gaming,[18] security & surveillance, medical technology[19] and live sciences.

In 2013 PMD Technologies cooperated with Infineon Technologies to produce 3-D image sensor chips for touchless gesture recognition.[20]

PMD sensors are used in the exteroceptive sensor suite of NASA's robot Valkyrie.[21]

The autonomous humanoid robot Justin by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is equipped with PMD-sensors.[22]

A collaboration between PMD and Infineon Technologies resulted in a 3D iToF technology which was used in the Magic Leap 2.[23][24]

In 2023 PMD and Infineon Technologies launched the IRS2976C, a ToF VGA sensor, which was the first sensor to be located under the display and to pass Googles Class 3 Face ID certification.[25][26]


  1. ^ "PMD - Infineon Technologies".
  2. ^ "Small and Inexpensive 3D Image Sensor". frost.com.
  3. ^ Audi Technologiemagazin Dialoge 1/2011 (in German) Die sehende Diode, Johannes Köbler.
  4. ^ VDI Nachrichten (in German) (http://www.vdi-nachrichten.com/vdi-nachrichten/startzeit/article.asp?id=61)
  5. ^ Verfahren und Vorrichtung zur Bestimmung der Phasen- und/oder Amplitudeninformation einer elektromagnetischen Welle, Google Patents
  6. ^ Ling Shao, Jungong Han, Pushmeet Kohli, Zhengyou Zhang (editors) (2014). Computer Vision and Machine Learning with RGB-D Sensors. Springer Science+Business Media. p. 15. ISBN 978-3319086507. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) ISBN 9783319086507
  7. ^ Team 3 | Deutscher Zukunftspreis, Kamerapixel mit Tiefgang: Durchbruch zum schnellen 3D-Sehen, Official Site of the German Future Prize
  8. ^ 3D-Kamera erfasst ihr räumliches Umfeld in Echtzeit, Dr. Norbert Lossau, Die Welt, 12/03/2002
  9. ^ "Einfachheit ist so wichtig wie Zuverlässigkeit", VDI News No. 47 (Association of German Engineers), Heike Freimann, 11/22/2013
  10. ^ Frost & Sullivan Bestows European Enabling Technology Award in Real-Time 3D Imaging on PMDTechnologies GmbH, Frost & Sullivan
  11. ^ Google I/O 2015 - Project Tango - Mobile 3D tracking and perception, retrieved 2023-11-08
  12. ^ "Sensing the world the way we do - the world's first Project Tango Smartphone". www.pressebox.com. 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  13. ^ "pmdtechnologies ag Opens Offices in Seoul and Shanghai". FinanzNachrichten.de. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  14. ^ pmdtechnologies timeline up to 2009 (http://www.ifm.com/ifmus/web/pmd_prd_timeline.htm)
  15. ^ Example for a PMD based Automation Product 3D Image Sensor Evaluates Size, Shape and Level Archived 2009-12-22 at the Portuguese Web Archive
  16. ^ First PMDvision Day – Automotive (in German)
  17. ^ Free space determination for parking slots using a 3D PMD sensor – Scheunert, U. Fardi, B. Mattern, N. Wanielik, G. Keppeler, N. – Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, 2007 IEEE, Istanbul, 13–15 June 2007
  18. ^ Minority Report – Futuristic Interface Technologies by 3D Vision Inspect Online, July 2009
  19. ^ Time-of-Flight sensor for patient positioning Medical Imaging 2009: Visualization, Image-Guided Procedures, and Modeling; Schaller,Adelt,Penne,Hornegger; Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7261 (2009)
  20. ^ Clarke, Peter (May 29, 2013). "Infineon launches 3-D sensor for gesture recognition". EE Times. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  21. ^ Radford, Strawser, Hambuchen, Mehling, Verdeyen, Donnan, Holley, Sanchez, Nguyen, Bridgwater, Berka, Ambrose, McQuin, Yamokoski, Hart, Guo, Parsons, Wightman, Dinh, Ames, Blakely, Edmonson, Sommers, Rea, Tobler, Bibby, Howard, Nui, Lee, Conover, Truong, Chesney, Platt Jr., Johnson, Fok, Paine, Sentis, Cousineau, Sinnet, Lack, Powell, Morris, Ames. "Valkyrie: NASA's First Bipedal Humanoid Robot" (PDF). Prof. Aaron D. Ames, Texas A&M University. Retrieved August 13, 2015.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ Mobiler humanoider Oberkörper "JUSTIN", Official Site of the DLR Institut für Robotik und Mechatronik
  23. ^ "Infineon, Pmdtechnologies Bring 3D iToF Depth Sensing to Magic Leap 2". eetimes.eu. 2022-07-08. Retrieved 2024-01-03.
  24. ^ "Infineon and pmdtechnologies develop 3D depth-sensing technology for Magic Leap 2 – enabling advanced cutting-edge industrial and medical applications". infineon.com. 2022-05-30. Retrieved 2024-01-03.
  25. ^ "Infineon Introduces New i-ToF VGA Sensor for Long-Range, Low-Power 3D Camera Systems". embeddedcomputing.com. 2023-03-06. Retrieved 2024-01-03.
  26. ^ "ToF VGA sensor enables tiny 3D cameras". electronicproducts.com. 2023-02-28. Retrieved 2024-01-03.

Further reading[edit]

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. L. Overmeyer, S. Kleinert, "Stapeln leicht gemacht – 3D Kameratechnik unterstützt die Ladungshandhabung und hilft Unfälle zu vermeiden", "Industrial Vision", Vereinigte Fachverlage GmbH, Mainz, 2011

External links[edit]