Pseudo-Passive Time-of-Flight Imaging: Simultaneous Illumination, Communication, and 3D Sensing

The 3D time-of-flight (ToF) cameras have recently received a lot of attention due to their wide range of applications. Despite remarkable advancements in ToF imaging, state-of-the-art ToF cameras are still afflicted by the power hungriness of their illumination sources. To tackle this problem, we exploited existing lighting infrastructure, which ensures the ubiquitous presence of modulated light sources in indoor spaces that serve as opportunity illuminators. We explored the bistatic geometry for passive imaging using the pulse-based ToF approach. Our work is inspired by the recentlyintroducedvisible lightcommunication (VLC) or lightfidelity (Li-Fi) infrastructure. VLC allows the infrastructure to provide indoor simultaneous illumination, communication, and sensing (SICS). To this end, we designed a bistatic geometry for the purpose of attaining passive 3D imaging. Such capabilities are achieved by exploiting the pulse shape of the autocorrelation function of real optical signals generated by VLC/Li-Fi modules (e.g., OpenVLC and LiFiMAX). We demonstrated passive imaging by means of matched filtering. In this work, we also studied different sampling strategies in the time-shift domain, including uniform, random, and sparse rulers, which is another step forward toward preserving high depth accuracy with a minimal number of measurements. The proposed methodology achieved successful depth reconstruction with negligible root-mean-square error (RMSE) for the low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of themeasurements. Parametricmodels, such as Gaussian and sum of sines, are used to characterize the cross correlation functions and allow for robust parametric depth retrieval froma fewmeasurements.Moreover,we attained a 20-mm worst case error for a target at 25 cm. The experiment proved that the bistatic passive depth reconstruction is feasible.

keywords: Depth imaging, Li-Fi, time-of-flight (ToF), visible light communication (VLC)