Where 3D Sensors Are Needed: An Overview



3D sensors are increasingly included in our daily lives. Some, we might perceive consciously, while others just work silently in the background. Below, we try to define the most important classes and we list some of the relevant application areas that belong to these classes.


Recognizing people and objects

Lots of 3D sensors concentrate on identifying objects and people and distinguishing them from other, unimportant content within their range. One example is the Microsoft Kinect, which was originally developed for gaming, but is now used for various other purposes, e.g. medical treatment, 3D scanning, logistics, body language analysis etc.

This information is useful for many different appliations and can make a valuable contribution to the development of big technological trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or Industry 4.0.



People tracking with 3D sensors
  • Observing individual people and streams of people
  • Logistics
  • Surveillance & security
  • Smart home
  • Smart spaces
  • Defense
  • Scanning of 3D objects


Recognizing surroundings

Collision-avoidance is one of the most pressing issues that stands behind recognizing surroundings. This class is important already, but will gain even more importance in the future. Every autonomous car and drone needs to perceive their environment in order to deliver their passenger or parcel safely to their destination. These systems need to be 100% safe, so that people are willing to entrust their lives to them. A lot of testing is therefore needed to ensure this level of safety. It is an exciting area of application, in which we will encounter many innovations in the near future. Apart from the prestige, there is also an immense financial opportunity in this market – that might fuel the competition even further.


Recognizing surroundings with 3D sensors


  • Automotive
  • Drones
  • Industrial Robotics
  • Indoor Navigation


Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Recognizing gestures (Gesture Control)

Gesture control is already offered as an accessory for other products, such as the Leap Motion for computers. Some computers are also already equipped with their own 3D sensor – however, those almost always lack the required quality, which would ensure a pleasant customer experience. Right now, gesture control systems are very sensitive to external factors and error-prone.


Gesture control with 3D sensors


  • Consumer electronics
  • Entertainment
  • In-Car gesture control
  • VR


Image courtesy of twobee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Scanning through materials

Recently, 3D images of unborn babies in their mother’s belly became popular. They are no unfamiliar sight to us anymore. Similar technologies are used for the industrial material inspection. Sensing through materials needs special sensors. Optical systems do not work, for obvious reasons. Technologies that can scan through materials, therefore use ultrasound technology.

3D Sensors for healthcare


  • Healthcare
  • Material control



This is not a concluding list. It is rather a simple attempt to classify the various application areas for 3D sensing technology. If you know any other important category, feel free to write it down below and we can add it to the blog post.


Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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