Eyes of Tomorrow: Zero-power 3D Passive Imaging via LiFi / VLC infrastructure

Time-of-Flight (ToF) is a rapidly growing field that seeks to improve the capabilities of computer vision applications by emitting photons and reconstructing the scene from the reflected photons. The aim of this work is to revolutionize the field of 3D imaging by introducing a novel approach: passive 3D ToF imaging via Light Fidelity (LiFi) or Visible Light Communication (VLC) technology. State-of-art ToF sensing suffers from high power consumption and thermal drifts caused by built-in illumination sources. Additionally, the background light is treated as a disturbance, unlike in passive imaging modalities.

In this case, this new technology has created a strong push for passive ToF sensing to take advantage of VLC sources as opportunity illuminators. In this talk, we outline how to channelize this synergistic potential and leverage it to achieve 3D-sensing services without emitting a single photon from the ToF camera. This innovative idea has enormous potential application in homes, offices, industries, and vehicles, where ToF cameras and VLC sources are valuable assets.

Moreover, we aim to spark interest and foster cooperation between researchers and industry experts to usher in a new era of simultaneous optical wireless communication and sensing. LiFi / VLC technology serves as the backbone of networks. Our vision is to make passive ToF imaging becomes a ubiquitous tool, empowering a wide range of applications and transforming the way we perceive and interact with the world around us.

A Pitch presentation by Faisal Ahmed, Junior Research Scientist at Center for Sensor Systems ZESS, University of Siegen.

Faisal is driven by a vision to revolutionize 3D sensing, he has coined to lead the way in merging LiFi technology with Time-of-Flight (ToF) imaging. He envisions a multitude of practical applications both indoors and outdoors. He firmly believes that harnessing emerging technologies like passive imaging and LiFi communication is imperative in the immediate future, as they lay the foundation for a boundless and sustainable world of possibilities in the long run.

He also firmly believes that Optical wireless communication, artificial intelligence, and computational imaging are emerging fields with immense potential. Optical wireless communication offers high-speed, secure data transmission using light. AI revolutionizes various industries with intelligent decision-making and automation, while computational imaging enhances imaging capabilities through advanced algorithms. Together, these fields drive innovation and transformative applications in the short and long term.

About Faisal Ahmed
Faisal Ahmed received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Mehran UET, Pakistan in 2016, followed by a joint master’s degree from Mehran UET and the University of Malaga, Spain in 2019. Since 2019, he has also served as an expert and advisory member of Nanotechx, a Pakistan-based cyber security service company. In 2020, he joined the Center for Sensor Systems (ZESS), University of Siegen, Germany. Since then, he has been an active member of the research group “Compressive Sensing for the Photonic Mixer Device”. Currently, he is a Marie-Curie Research Fellow at ZESS, University of Siegen, Germany. His research focuses to demonstrate an enticing marriage of VLC with Time-of-Flight (ToF) imaging technology which will provide multiple services as desired in future networks, e.g., illumination, communication, and sensing. In addition, his research interests include visible light communication, time-of-flight imaging, signal processing, and indoor 3D sensing.

About ZESS, University of Siegen
For more than three decades, ZESS has served as a research center dedicated to the advancement of innovative sensor technology, intelligent sensor systems, and sensor-based processes. Within this interdisciplinary environment, ZESS fosters the development and exploring various research topics. Embracing a comprehensive approach, ZESS investigates the complete chain of sensory information acquisition and explores novel sensor technologies through innovative methods of extracting information. The ZESS community collaboratively conducts research activities encompassing sensor principles, sensor development, sensor information, signal processing, high-level information extraction, and application integration.

ZESS has established a rich legacy and earned commendable standing in the fields of 3D imaging processes, structural health monitoring, and compressed sensing. Their research findings are frequently disseminated via prestigious venues and esteemed journals, reflecting the high level of their work. Furthermore, through close cooperation with institutions like the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology (FHR), pmd technologies ag (a spin-off from ZESS), and long-standing industrial allies like Bombardier, ZESS effectively bridges the gap between fundamental and applied research, achieving successful integration of theoretical insights and practical applications.

Faisal Ahmed is speaker at the 2023 edition of the LiFi Conference.

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