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New Time-of-Flight Sensor With Multi-Object Ranging from ST

The VL53L3CX measures object ranges from 2.5cm to 3m, unaffected by the target color or reflectance

STMicroelectronics has extended the capabilities of its FlightSense™ ToF ranging sensors by introducing the VL53L3CX with patented histogram algorithms that allow measuring distances to multiple objects as well as increasing accuracy.

The VL53L3CX measures object ranges from 2.5cm to 3m, unaffected by the target color or reflectance, unlike conventional infrared sensors. This allows designers to introduce powerful new features to their products, such as enabling occupancy detectors to provide error-free sensing by ignoring unwanted background or foreground objects, or reporting the exact distances to multiple targets within the sensor’s field-of-view.

Click for Larger Image - New Time-of-Flight Sensor With Multi-Object Ranging from ST The ST patented histogram algorithms increase cover-glass crosstalk immunity and allow real-time smudge compensation preventing external contamination from adversely affecting the ranging accuracy of, for example, vacuum cleaners or equipment that may be used in a dusty industrial environment. Ranging under ambient lighting is also improved.

In addition, the VL53L3CX has superior linearity that increases short-distance measurement accuracy enhancing wall tracking, faster cliff detection, and obstacle avoidance in equipment such as service robots and vacuum cleaners, markets in which ST has already enjoyed considerable commercial success. Like all FlightSense sensors, the VL53L3CX features a compact, all-in-one package design that eases integration in customer devices, as well as low power consumption that helps extend battery runtime.

ToF sensing brings superior performance to a wide variety of applications, including more reliable occupancy detection in building-automation and lighting controllers, smarter proximity sensing in IoT endpoints, more convenient auto-wakeup in portable devices, and more robust user detection in automatic sanitary equipment. With their high accuracy and fast response times, ToF sensors also enhance the performance of all devices requiring precise movement control, typically robotics and indoor drones.

Features of the VL53L3CX Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

  • Fully integrated miniature module
    • Emitter: 940 nm invisible laser (VCSEL) and its analog driver
    • Low-power microcontroller running advanced digital firmware
    • Size: 4.4 x 2.4 x 1 mm
  • Fast, accurate distance ranging
    • Histogram based technology
    • Up to 300 cm+ detection with full field of view (FoV)
    • Immune to cover glass cross-talk and fingerprint smudge at long distance with patented algorithms (direct ToF)
    • Dynamic fingerprint smudge compensation
    • Short distance, high accuracy linearity
    • Multi target detection and distance measurement
  • Typical full FoV: 25 °
  • Easy integration
    • Reflowable component
    • Part-to-part or generic shape crosstalk calibration available
    • Single power supply
    • Works with many types of cover glass materials
    • I²C interface (up to 1 MHz)
    • Xshutdown (reset) and interrupt GPIO to optimize ranging operation
    • C and Linux full set of software drivers for turnkey ranging

For more information on the VL53L3CX Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor, visit the ST Website at STMicroelectronics VL53L3CX product page

The company's Web site address is www.st.com.
[Reprinted with kind permission from STMicroelectronics - Release Date 25th May, 2020]