STMicroelectronics has launched their second-generation distance senor VL53L0, which is based on STM’s popular FlightSense technology. This sensor is suitable for use in smartphones and tablets to make quick distance measurements for an integrated camera, but it can also be used in robots, drones and wearables.
Despite its compact dimension of 4.4 x 2.2 x 1 mm, the VL53L0 integrates a vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) operating at a wavelength of 940 nm, a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) light detector, and a microcontroller that controls the entire measurement process and calculates the measured distance. Using a 940 nm laser in combination with integrated infrared filters makes the detector insensitive to ambient light, and the laser light is not visible to the human eye.
The VL53L0 can perform a complete measurement in a single frame time (typically less than 30 ms) with distances greater than 2 m. This speed enables instantaneous focusing for both video recordings and photo bursts, even under low-light or low-contrast conditions. The VL53L0 module has an I²C interface for easy communication, and a complete package of APIs and documentation is available for fast and easy application integration.