STMicroelectronics – Miniature time-of-flight sensor offers long range and high speed

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STMicroelectronics has released its second-generation laser-ranging sensor based on its highly successful FlightSenseTM Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology.

The sensor, the VL53L0X, can take range measurements faster, over longer distances, and more accurately than the first generation of ST laser-ranging sensors. This improved performance makes the VL53L0X ideal for a wide variety of industrial and consumer applications such as:

• gesture sensing and proximity detection in user interfaces
• wall detection, cliff detection and collision avoidance for robots
• hands-free actuation of home appliances and taps, soap dispensers and hand dryers

In the VL53L0X, the ToF measurement range has been extended to 2m, and distance measurement is now accurate to within ±3%. It is also faster, measuring distance in less than 30ms, and highly energy-efficient, consuming only 20mW in active ranging mode and drawing 5μA in stand-by mode.

At 2.4mm x 4.4mm x 1mm, the VL53L0X is also the smallest ToF module in the world.

Unlike conventional low-resolution infrared proximity sensors, the VL53L0X gives accurate distance measurements in millimetres, and is unaffected by the colour or reflectivity of the sensed target. Its fast-acting FlightSense technology, well known from the laser- assisted camera auto-focus featured in several smartphones from top brands, can also distinguish movement towards or away from the sensor or from side to side. Distance is calculated internally and communicated over I2C, thereby minimising the processing demands on the system host controller.

The integrated eye-safe laser emits invisible light at a wavelength of 940nm. It does not produce the distracting red glow typically associated with other infrared proximity sensors, and improves immunity to interference from external light sources.

FEATURES

  • Reported range is independent of the target reflectance
  • Embedded optical cross-talk compensation to simplify cover-glass selection
  • Class 1 laser device compliant with IEC 60825-1:2014 3rd edition standard

APPLICATIONS

  • User presence detection
  • Robotics
  • White goods
  • Gesture recognition
  • IoT devices
  • Drones
  • Laser-assisted auto-focus

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The board is supplied with a cover glass holder in which three different spacers of 0.25mm, 0.5mm and 1mm height can be fitted below the cover glass in order to simulate various air gaps.

Orderable Part Number: X-NUCLEO-53L0A1

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