About 3D Depth Cameras

What is a 3D Depth Camera?

A 3D camera is an imaging device that enables the perception of depth in images to replicate three dimensions adding distance compared with 2D imaging cameras. Depth cameras use sensing technology to infer the distance (or depth) of points in the scene from the camera.

What are the different technologies?

Depth technologies available today and covered in LIPS® product portfolio, include:

  • Stereo Vision

  • Time of Flight

  • Structured Light

Stereo Vision

A 3D stereo camera relies on the same principle that a human eye works based on – binocular vision, which uses what is called stereo disparity to measure the depth of an object. Stereo disparity is the technique of measuring the distance to an object by using the difference in an object’s location as seen by two different sensors or cameras.


Time of flight (ToF) refers to the time taken by light to travel a given distance. Time of flight cameras work based on this principle where the distance to an object is estimated using the time taken by the light emitted to come back to the sensor after reflecting off the object’s surface.

Structured Light

A structured light depth sensing camera uses a light source (mostly laser) to project light patterns onto the target object. Based on the distortions obtained, the distance to the object can be calculated.

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