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Time-of-Flight 8x8 Multi-Zone Ranging Sensor from STMicroelectronics Enables Innovative Applications

STMicroelectronics has announced the first multi-zone FlightSense™ time-of-flight sensor to be offered for general-purpose applications, bringing sophisticated distance sensing to the full spectrum of consumer and industrial products.

The VL53L5CX sensor provides up to 64 sensing zones with multi-target detection, distance measurement up to four meters in each zone, and a wide square-edged field of view with 63° diagonal. The sensor is suited to gesture recognition, complex scene analysis including 3D room mapping for robotics, storage-tank level monitoring to assist in inventory management, liquid-level control, and waste-bin-level monitoring to enable smart refuse collection for enhanced efficiency.

By supporting gesture recognition and automatic human-presence detection, the VL53L5CX enables safe, touch-free operation with significant power-saving when used for waking-up publicly accessible equipment such as self-service payment terminals, as well as consumer products and domestic appliances. Featuring ST’s proven histogram processing, which greatly reduces the impact of cover-glass crosstalk, the sensor can be easily integrated and hidden behind various types of front panels. The new and innovative motion-indicator feature allows the sensor to detect if the target has moved or not.

The number of sensing arrays is programmable and the sensor can provide up to 60 frames per second in 16-zone (4×4) mode for fast-ranging mode. With simple software configuration to reach high resolution of 8×8 zones, the VL53L5CX can also assist keystone correction for video projectors and provide an accurate mini depth-map for augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) applications.

The VL53L5CX contains a low-power microcontroller and is capable of autonomous operation for power-saving applications. It comes in a fully integrated 6.4mm x 3.0mm x 1.5mm module that contains an infrared VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emission Laser) emitter and a receiver with embedded SPADs (Single-Photon Avalanche Diode) and histogram based ToF processing engine.

The VL53L5CX is supported by an extensive toolchain that allows ultra-fast prototyping via an easy-to-use evaluation and calibration tool. Development boards designed to integrate easily into larger prototype systems are also available. In addition, the P-NUCLEO-53L5A1 evaluation kit and X-CUBE-TOF1 software expansion pack leverage the STM32 development ecosystem for building time-of-flight applications.

All parts are in production now and available for order online, priced from $3.90.

ST is hosting a webinar dedicated to time-of-flight sensing on September 21, 2021, to introduce the VL53L5CX, its features, opportunities for product innovation, and development tools including design resources and software code examples. Visit the above link for further information and to register for the webinar.

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