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ToF ranging sensor promises to enhance mobile cameras

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics? ToF sensor? IoT? wearable? camera?

STMicroelectronics has announced its second-generation laser-ranging sensor based on its FlightSense technology. The VL53L0 can range faster, over longer distances, and more accurately, considerably improving smartphone- and tablet-camera performance and opening possibilities and features in robotics, user detection, drones, IoT and wearables, stated the company.

With its small form factor of 4.4mm x 2.4mm x 1mm, the VL53L0 is the smallest Time-of-Flight (ToF) module in the world, and the first to integrate a 940nm VCSEL light source, a SPAD photon detector, and an advanced MCU to manage the complete ranging function, noted ST. Coupled to leading-edge infrared filters, the VL53L0 delivers best-in-class ambient light immunity and is now invisible to the human eye, the company added. The embedded MCU and digital algorithms minimise both the host processing and system power consumption in the final application.


The VL53L0 is able to perform a full measurement operation in 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.

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, ST said. The module package is reflowable, RoHS compliant and fully compatible with a large selection of cover glass and design artworks.

The VL53L0 is in production and available, priced from $1.75 at the minimum order quantity of 5,000 units.

VL53L0 block diagram

VL53L0 block diagram and drawing

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