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Linz: First ever 3D plastic film

Thin-film LC sensor prototype © Optics Express

Found in industrial manufacturing, robotics, in self-driving vehicles and game consoles, 3D devices and equipment consist of a large number of individual optical elements, including lenses and image sensors. Around the size of a camera, they are considered bulky and challenging for commonplace use. As opposed to the simple touch sensors found in today’s mobile devices, new advancements make it possible to now recognize an object’s shape and distance. The special film contains a fluorescent dye and effectively helps move to the collected light to the edges where it is scanned. The object, located in front of the film, is calculated from the measured light signal. Optical elements, such as lenses, are no longer required. Using a small, external pico projector, the object only needs to be illuminated with a series of random noise patterns.

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