Time-of-flight ranging sensor extends measurement to 2m

Time-of-flight ranging sensors from STMicroelectronics now include the second generation of its FlightSense technology, in the VL53L0X laser-ranging sensor.

The sensor extends the time-of-flight measurement range to two meters, and is accurate to within ±3%, says the company. It is also faster, measuring the distance in under 30ms, and energy-efficient, consuming only 20mW in active ranging mode and drawing 5microA in standby. At 2.4 x 4.4 x 1.0mm, it is also claimed to be the smallest such device in the market.

Unlike conventional infrared proximity sensors, it provides distance measurement in millimeters, and is unaffected by the colour or reflectivity of the sensed target. FlightSense technology can also distinguish movement towards or away from the sensor or from side to side. Distance is calculated internally and communicated over I2C to minimise demands on the system host controller.

The integrated eye-safe laser emits non-visible light of 940nm wavelength, which eliminates the distracting red glow typically associated with other IR proximity sensors and improves immunity to interference from external light sources.

Sensing capabilities can support gesture sensing or proximity detection for new innovative user interfaces, wall detection, cliff detection and collision avoidance for robotic appliances, as well as hands-free actuation of home appliances or washroom devices. Other applications include user-presence detection for laptops or monitors for power-on/off control, drones, and IoT devices.

A software API (application programming interface) is supplied for ease of integration, together with full documentation and example source code. The X-NUCLEO-53L0A1 expansion board can be connected to the family of STM32 Nucleo microcontroller boards to evaluate performance.



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