Power Electronics
Proximity Sensor Provides Superior Distance Sensing

Proximity Sensor Provides Superior Distance Sensing

STMicroelectronics revealed a  highly accurate optical range-finding module based on FlightSense™ Time-of-Flight technology that offers designers superior distance-measurement capability. FlightSense™ provides accurate distance sensing by measuring the time for emitted light to reflect back from the target, whereas conventional sensors can only report reflected signal levels and not absolute distance. ST's FlightSense™ technology brings unique advantages versus conventional infrared sensors; measuring longer ranges that are independent of the target reflectivity, at high frame rate and low power.

ST's VL6180X module combines FlightSense™ proximity sensing with an ambient-light sensor (ALS) and supports basic gesture recognition to simplify the user-interface design while also offering enhanced performance. This new device supports a wide range of creative use cases across multiple markets, including smartphones, tablets, and game controllers, while also improving the performance of consumer appliances and industrial products.

Global electronics giant LG utilizes the FlightSense™ technology to assist the laser auto-focus performance of its G3 smartphone.

The VL6180X module is offered in a compact 4.8 mm x 2.8 mm x 1.0 mm optical LGA12 package and can accurately measure the distance to objects at up to 100mm or even farther, subject to operating conditions. The module provides an I²C interface for host control and reading ranging or ambient light level results, as well as two programmable GPIO pins that can be configured to implement threshold applications.

Designers can easily discover all the possibilities of ST's latest proximity-sensor module with the newly introduced VL6180X Explorer evaluation kit. The kit not only allows the customer to quickly get started with FlightSense™ technology, but also supports the development of applications in a real device. It combines a USB-pluggable STM32Nucleo board and VL6180X sensor shield containing the sensor, a 4-digit LED display, and a slider switch to control the ranging and ALS functions. The display shows either the distance to the target or the ambient light level.

The VL6180X sensor is in full production now, priced from $2.50 at the minimum order quantity of 5,000 units, and the VL6180X Explorer kit is available immediately, priced from $19.69 per unit. 

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