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Raspberry Pi add-on enables 120fps 3D sensing via an IR laser

Jul 16, 2021 — by Eric Brown — 4431 views

Magik Eye has launched a developer release of an “ILT Development Kit” (DK-ILT001) add-on for the Raspberry Pi that provides 3D sensing at up to 120fps by combining inputs from a CMOS sensor and a 3D IR laser.

Stamford, Conn. based Magik Eye announced a “pre-launch” release of its Invertible Light Technology (ILT) Development Kit for the Raspberry Pi based on its MagikEye technology. This early version is aimed at a selected group of 3D sensing developers and will be followed by an official launch at $99.

The ILT Development Kit, also known as the DK-ILT001, is designed for high volume, low latency 3D sensing applications that require a compact form factor. The kit can capture 3D point cloud data of targets for applications such as robotics.

ILT Development Kit (DK-ILT001) alone (left) and with Raspberry Pi
(click images to enlarge)

The 44 x 24 x 16mm “entry level” kit combines a “simple” infrared laser projector with a standard CMOS image sensor to achieve 3D imaging at more than 120fps when connected to the Raspberry Pi, says Magik Eye. Other MagikEye ILT kits combined with more advanced hosts can provide up to 600fps throughput.


MagikEye ILT technology can overcome the limitations of many 3D sensors, which “often have trouble with things like reflective surfaces, un-textured white walls, bright sunlight, dark interior spaces, and translucent objects such as windows,” says Magik Eye. The technology is touted for its power efficiency and field of view (FoV) flexibility.

DK-ILT001 in case (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The DK-ILT001 kit uses Magik Eye’s 850nm ILT001 3D IR sensor, which has an Eye Safety (IEC-60825) Class 1 laser classification. The company’s Linux-based MkE SDK for the Pi supplies algorithms that combine and calibrate the source data. The firmware is open source, but the MagikEye runtime libraries are proprietary.

Magik Eye MkE software running on a connected laptop
(click image to enlarge)

Also available is an MkE Sensory Discovery package, which runs on a Linux, Mac, or Windows PC connected to the Pi via LAN or WiFi. The DK-ILT001 supports OpenCV, PCL, Open3D, ROS, and Unity, and developers can use C++ and Python to build customized 3D sensing systems.

A 15-pin MIPI-CSI cable connects to the Raspberry Pi Zero W, 3B, 3B+, or 4. Magik Eye recommends that you add a heatsink or cooling fan to the Pi, which powers the module over the cable at 3.3V. The module typically consumes 0.6W.

“With its high speed, low latency and superior surface visibility at near ranges, developers will now have a great new tool for object detection, guidance and gesture recognition,” stated Takeo Miyazawa, Founder & CEO of MagikEye. “We are excited that developers can now explore optimal use cases for applications such as robotics that are truly effective for near-range applications and easy to use.”

Further information

The ILT Development Kit (DK-ILT001) appears to be available only to selected developers at this time. However, Magik Eye has posted a shopping page on SwitchScience with a $99 price and “out of stock” label that should eventually open to the public. More information may be found in the announcement, product page, and GitHub page.

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