The VL53L0X laser-ranging sensor from STMicroelectronics is now being shipped by Mouser Electronics. The time-of-flight (ToF) sensor integrates a leading-edge single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array and the second generation of ST’s FlightSense technology to extend the measurement range up to two meters.
The sensor offers ranging as fast as 20ms, and reports distance accurately regardless of target reflectance and colour. It supports a variety of applications, including user-detection in computers or tablets, landing assist for drones, and a wide array of functions in Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The ToF sensor benefits from the same technology as ST’s ToF sensor already being used in laser-assisted camera auto-focus in smartphones, and can distinguish movement towards or away from the sensor or from side to side.
Distance is calculated internally and communicated over I2C, minimising demands on the system host controller.
The VL53L0X’s integrated, eye-safe laser emits non-visible light of 940nm wavelength, which eliminates the distracting red glow typically associated with other infrared proximity sensors and improves immunity to interference from external light sources.
Coupled with internal physical infrared filters, the laser enables longer distance ranging, higher immunity to ambient light, and better robustness to cover-glass optical cross-talk.
The sensor consumes only 20mW in active ranging mode and draws just 5µA in standby mode. At 2.4mm × 4.4mm × 1mm, it is the smallest ToF sensor on the market.
The sensing capabilities of the VL53L0X can support a wide range of functions, including gesture sensing or proximity detection for user interfaces, obstacle detection for robotics, and hands-free operation of home appliances or industrial devices such as faucets and soap dispensers.