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VL53L0X – LIDAR Distance Sensor

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This tiny module is the breakout board for the popular ST Microelectronics’ VL53L0X laser-ranging sensor. This sensor is used to measure the range of a target within 2 meters. It is a laser ranging module which uses the time of flight principle to measure the distance.

 

VL53L0X Pin Configuration

Pin Number

Pin Name

Description

1

VIN

Power supply for the board can be powered by 2.6V to 5.5V

2

GND

Ground of the module

3

SCL

Serial Clock Line pin, used for I2C communication

4

SDA

Serial Data Address pin, used for I2C communication

 

Features

  • Operating voltage: 2.6V to 5.5V
  • Supply Current: 10mA
  • Communication: I2C protocol
  • 940 nm safe and long ranging laser VCSEL
  • In-built 2.8V linear voltage regulator
  • Fast and accurate distance ranging. It can measure up to 2m
  • Prevents optical cross talk efficiently.
  • Easy integration with microcontrollers because of I2C.

 

Alternative for VL53L0X: VL6180,

 

Other Distance Sensors: Ultrasonic sensor HC-SR04

 

Where to Use VL53L0X Sensor?

The VL53L0X sensor got very popular after it was first used in iPhone 7 for 3D imaging and Apple is still using this sensor in its latest mobile phones. It can detect object within its range even the object’s surface is highly reflective hence measuring distance accurately. It has an integrated Single Photon Avalanche Diodes (SPAD) array. This array is fast and is able to distinguish between different photons with a less lag/jitter i.e within few tens of picoseconds. The time-of-flight technology used in this sensor is the ST’s second gen FlightSense technology. The laser used here is a 940 nm Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) which is invisible and safe for the human eyes. The integrated IR filters enhance the long range and increases immunity to ambience and gives good prevention from glass optical crosstalk.

This module has 4 pins VCC, GND, SCL and SDA. The board has a 2.8V linear regulator and integrated level shifter so, it can bear a voltage in the range of 2.6V to 5.5V. It uses I2C protocol to communicate that’s why Serial Clock Line (SCL) and Serial Data Address (SDA) pins are there to communicate with microcontroller.

 

How to Use VL53L0X Sensor

This sensor is easy to use and can be easily incorporated. The module can be powered by a source of 2.6V to 5.5V which is then regulated to 2.8V using the on-board regulator. For communication you can use I2C communication pins provided. The sensor can easily be implemented by most of the microcontrollers. More details can be found at the VL53L0X datasheet linked below.

 

Applications

  • Obstacle detection in robotics.
  • Hand detection in hand driers, soap dispensers, faucets etc.
  • Gesture recognition in one dimension.
  • Widely used in camera autofocus to enhance in the camera performance in low light or fast moving objects conditions.
  • Used as a proximity sensor in many phones.

 

Component Datasheet

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