Time-of-Flight sensors meet low power demands

16th July 2019
Mick Elliott

A range of Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors designed to meet the changing needs of design engineers and address demand for 3D information and extended range created by new use cases are being shipped by Farnell.

Today’s ToF devices support applications such as gesture sensing, distance measurement, robotics, industrial automation and process control, enabling practical solutions such as monitoring the position of an object in production as it is transported through a plant on a conveyor belt.

Devices available from the distributor increase distance capabilities irrespective of colour and surface of the item tracked, maximise use potential within both indoor and outdoor environments and satisfy high-speed, small size and low power demands, driven by Industrial IoT application needs.

The ISL29501 ToF IC from Renesas is designed for detecting objects at distances up to 2m providing a cost effective and efficient solution for distance measurement. It is a time of flight signal processing IC that provides a complete object detection and distance measurement solution when combined with an external emitter (LED or laser) and photodiode.

The sensor’s ultra-small size, low power consumption and performance, makes it ideal for use with connected devices in Internet of Things (IoT) applications, as well as for consumer mobile devices, home automation and the emerging commercial drone market.

The VL53L1X ToF Nucleo pack from ST Microelectronics is a complete evaluation kit allowing anyone to learn, evaluate and develop their application using the VL53L1X ToF, the latest product based on ST's patented FlightSense technology.

Accuracy covers up to 4m and fast-ranging frequency ranges up to 50Hz. This technology allows absolute long-distance to be measured independently of target reflectance as instead of estimating the distance by measuring the amount of light reflected back from an object the VL53L1X precisely measures the time the light takes to travel to the nearest object and reflect back to the sensor.

The newly launched AFBR-S50MV85G evaluation kit, from Broadcom, comprises an NXP FRDM-KL46Z evaluation board and the AFBR-S50MV85G adapter board delivering out-of-the-box connectivity between the sensor and a microcontroller board without the need for soldering.

Suitable for indoor and outdoor use and optimised for distances of up to 10m, this sensor has been developed with a special focus on industrial sensing and gesture sensing applications that require high speed, small size and very low power consumption, such as human machine interfaces, robotics, and augmented reality.

Lee Turner, Global Head of Semiconductors and SBC at Farnell said: “Farnell’s strong supplier relationships with ST and Broadcom, and now including new addition Renesas, give access to the latest technologies in Time-of-Flight sensing options. For design engineers seeking the right devices for their application, our technical support team are available 24/5 to help identify the most suitable device for their application, no matter how complex the design or requirement of the application.”

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