Troy Company Partners with Microsoft on 3-D Imaging Cameras

Troy-based Orbbec, a 3-D camera manufacturer, has announced a collaboration with Washington’s Microsoft to develop products and technologies in 3-D imaging. The partnership will leverage Microsoft’s 3-D sensor technology and Orbbec’s camera design knowledge, manufacturing, and computing technology.
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Orbbec 3-D scanning system
Orbbec has partnered with Microsoft to collaborate on 3-D imaging technology. Pictured is an Orbbec camera creating a 3-D scan. // Photo courtesy of Orbbec

Troy-based Orbbec, a 3-D camera manufacturer, has announced a collaboration with Washington’s Microsoft to develop products and technologies in 3-D imaging. The partnership will leverage Microsoft’s 3-D sensor technology and Orbbec’s camera design knowledge, manufacturing, and computing technology.

The companies plan to introduce new cameras in 2022. They will be able to connect the camera’s sensor to the Azure cloud platform to use technology for solutions in the logistics, robotics, retail, health care, and fitness markets.

The partnership will allow the companies to develop a new series of cameras that can run advanced depth vision algorithms using onboard computing to convert raw data into precise depth images. The camera will security connect to Azure, leveraging device management, data streaming, and artificial intelligence analytics capabilities.

The camera will be designed for advanced human/machine interface, robotics, 3-D scanning and surveillance, gaming, and other consumer applications.

Orbbec announced its plan at CES 2021 to introduce its new time-of-flight camera product line, supporting sensors, on-board depth computing, motion tracking, multi-camera synchronization, and other features using 3-D imaging.

“Orbbec’s long experience in manufacturing high-performance 3-D cameras makes them a strong strategic partner for developing products based on Microsoft ToF technology and Azure,” says Cyrus Bamji, partner hardware architect at Microsoft. “This collaboration will accelerate the availability of ToF sensor cameras with advanced, embedded computing for developers and solution providers worldwide.”

Time-of-flight allows users to capture the exact position and shape of objects and scenes. Similar to how an ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image, time-of-flight uses light to measure shapes, movement, and position of static or moving objects with pinpoint accuracy and at greater distances than previously available in the market.

Orbbec’s time-of-flight cameras are embedded with computing ability. They can output high-quality depth data without an external computer, giving users design and application flexibility.

“Microsoft is a world leader in high-resolution ToF sensor technology and cloud-based service,” says David Chen, co-founder and director of engineering for Orbbec. “Its knowledge and intellectual property allow Orbbec to offer a full range of ToF cameras for the widest possible spectrum of uses. Orbbec is excited to join the Azure Depth Platform Program, to jointly develop solutions that will enhance the capabilities of both Orbbec and Microsoft’s customer and partner ecosystems.”

As part of the development process, Orbbec will engage its customers for early adoption and proofs of concept for the new time-of-flight camera using Azure 3-D.

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