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New Technology Gives Air Bags Depth Perception
Aug 2000
MUNICH, Germany, Aug. 11 -- Researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology and Fraunhofer Society for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems in Duisburg, Germany have created a way to recognize a three-dimensional object based entirely on semiconductor components.
The technique is called multiple double short time integration, which has the ability to direct near-infrared, low-power laser pulses through the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Reflected light is detected by a CMOS image converter and then processed by an image converter chip. In one thousandth of a second, the distances of 1,000 different points of an object within the passenger area are measured within one centimeter, creating a three-dimensional image.
The new semiconductor-based design is extremely robust and can be mass produced, taking advantage of economies of scale, said Bruce Wrenbeck, Siemens Automotive director of safety electronics restraint Systems. Its efficiency and cost effectiveness allows the three-dimensional occupant recognition sensor to lend itself to many different applications.

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