New Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor for Smartphones, Robotics and IoT
New FlightSense™ VL53L0 Sensor sets a new standard for Time-of-Flight Modules
STMicroelectronics has released its second-generation laser-ranging sensor based on its highly successful FlightSense™ technology.
The new sensor, the VL53L0, can range faster, over longer distances, and more accurately, significantly improving smartphone- and tablet-camera performance and
opening new possibilities and features in robotics, user detection, drones, IoT, and wearables.
With its small form factor of 4.4 x 2.4 x 1mm, the VL53L0 is the smallest ToF (Time-of-Flight) module in the world, and the first to integrate a 940nm VCSEL1 light source, a SPAD2 photon detector, and an advanced microcontroller to manage the complete ranging function. Being the markets first module to use light emitted at 940nm, coupled to leading-edge infrared filters, the VL53L0 delivers best-in-class ambient light immunity and is now invisible to the human eye. The embedded microcontroller and digital algorithms minimize both the host processing and system power consumption in the final user application.
“ST technology advancements in Time-of-Flight ranging sensors are enhancing the experience for millions of consumers, revolutionizing the way they take pictures and videos with their smartphones and tablets,” said Eric Aussedat, General Manager of ST’s Imaging Division. “ST introduced the first fully-integrated Time-of-Flight ranging sensor to the market in 2014, which was then successfully adopted by several leading OEMs for the laser-assisted autofocus function. Today, with the VL53L0, our next generation, ST is redefining the benchmark in ranging performance and creating the opportunity to develop new applications in robotics and the IoT.”
The VL53L0 is able to perform a full measurement operation in just one image frame, typically less than 30ms, at distances beyond 2m. With such performance levels the camera system can achieve instant focus in both video and burst modes, even in low-light or low-contrast scenes, which are especially challenging for camera-systems not equipped with FlightSense™ technology.
With superior accuracy, the VL53L0 also enhances smartphone applications including dual-camera-based depth-mapping and offers exciting opportunities in robotics, user detection, drones, IoT, and wearables.
ST's VL53L0 module is simple to use (6 effective pins), is I2C based, and comes with a full package of API drivers and documentation for fast and simple integration. The module package is reflowable, RoHS compliant, and fully compatible with a large selection of cover glass and design artworks.
Features of the VL53L0X Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor
- Fully integrated miniature module
- 940 nm laser VCSEL
- VCSEL driver
- Ranging sensor with advanced embedded micro controller
- Fast, accurate distance ranging
- Measures absolute range up to 2 m
- Reported range is independent of the target reflectance
- Advanced embedded optical cross-talk compensation to simplify cover glass selection
- Eye safe
- Class 1 laser device compliant with latest standard IEC 60825-1:2014 - 3rd edition
- Easy integration
- Single reflowable component
- No additional optics
- Single power supply
- Programmable I²C address
- I²C interface for device control and data transfer
- Xshutdown (reset) and interrupt GPIO
For more information on the new VL53L0X Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor, visit the ST website at
STMicroelectronics VL53L0X product page
The STMicroelectronics website address is www.st.com.
[Reprinted with kind permission from STMicroelectronics - Release Date 5th January, 2016]