A miniature bio-inspired optic flow sensor based on low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) technology

  • Pudas Marko
  • Viollet Stéphane
  • Ruffier Franck
  • Kruusing Arvi
  • Arnic Stephane
  • Leppavuori Seppo
  • Franceschini Nicolas


Low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) technology is classically used in the field of radio frequencies to make items such as miniature transceivers for handheld devices. Here we harness the LTCC technology to autonomous micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs), a field in which small size and low mass are at a premium. Designing autonomous MAVs will be a highly challenging issue during the next few decades. Bio-inspired optic flow sensors, also known as elementary motion detector (EMD) circuits, have proved to be efficient means of providing animals and robots with visual guidance ability. The LTCC technology gives a good trade-off between the need for reliable optic flow sensors and the need for small-sized multiple electronic components. Comparisons with other technologies (PCB, analogue VLSI) show that LTCC technology is one of the most reliable solutions to the problem of obtaining reliable electronic EMDs that are small enough (area 7 mm x 7 mm) and light enough (mass 0.2 g) to be accommodated on-board a MAV. The output from our LTCC based optic flow sensors is largely invariant with respect to both contrast and spatial frequency. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.