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STMicroelectronics Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

A new generation of high-performance proximity and ranging sensors based on FlightSense™ Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology.

Unlike other proximity sensors that use simple IR (Infra-Red) technology, which only measure signal strength and can be affected by the object’s reflectivity, FlightSense™ sensors directly measure distance to the object based on the time for emitted photons to be reflected, enabling accurate distance ranging regardless of the object’s surface characteristics.

FlightSense™ products are packaged in “all-in-one” miniature module which contain the laser driver and emitter as well as the Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) light receiver that gives ST’s sensors their unrivaled ranging speed and reliability.

This advanced ToF solution combines the benefits of STMicroelectronics’ unique SPAD technology with our mature in-house imaging process and high-volume packaging facilities. It is ideally suited to a wide range of applications that require:

  • Accurate and high-speed distance measurement
  • Low power consumption
  • Competitive system cost
  • Easy integration with flexible mechanical design

FlightSense™ technology and ranging sensors can be used in a host of application areas:

  • Proximity sensing
  • Camera autofocus and Video assist
  • Vacuum cleaners, service robots and toys for wall following, cliff detection, collision avoidance
  • Hover / landing assistance for drones
  • Home appliances: Ambient light sensing, gesture recognition for light management, automatic doors control
  • Special power-saving presence detection mode enables innovative auto-sleep/wake-on-approach use cases for PCs, notebooks and IoT devices
  • Further applications include washroom automation in toilets, faucets or soap dispensers, and package counting to aid inventory management in vending machines or smart-shelf systems.

FlightSense™ proximity and ranging sensors are supplied with a complete documentation package, example source codes and a software API (application programming interface) which is compatible with a range of microcontrollers and processors. The application software development and the physical integration into customers’ devices is easy thanks to the X-NUCLEO expansion board, breakout boards and associated development ecosystem.

STM – FlightSense™ Proximity and Ranging Sensor Demonstration

VL53L1 Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

With advanced multi-zone and multi-object detection

The VL53L1 is a state-of-the-art, Time-of-Flight (ToF), laser-ranging, miniature sensor enhancing STMicroelectronics’ FlightSense product family. Housed in a miniature and reflowable package, it integrates a SPAD (single photon avalanche diode) array, physical infrared filters and optics to achieve the best ranging performance in various ambient lighting conditions, with a wide range of cover windows.

Unlike conventional IR sensors, the VL53L1 uses ST’s latest generation direct ToF technology which allows absolute distance measurement whatever the target color and reflectance. It provides accurate ranging above 4 m and can work at fast speeds (60 Hz), which makes it the fastest miniature ToF sensor on the market.

With patented algorithms and ingenious module construction, the VL53L1 is also able to detect different objects within the field-of-view with depth understanding at 60 Hz.

Scene browsing and multi-zone detection is now possible with the VL53L1, thanks to software customizable detection array for quicker “touch-to-focus” or mini depth-map use cases.

VL53L1 Key Features

  • Fully integrated miniature module
    • _940 nm invisible laser (VCSEL) and its analog driver
    • Receiving array with integrated lens
    • Low-power microcontroller running advanced digital firmware
    • _4.9 x 2.5 x 1.56 mm
  • Fast, accurate distance ranging
    • 400 cm+ detection with full field of view (FoV)
    • 60 Hz ranging capable up to 300 cm
    • Immune to coverglass cross-talk and fingerprint smudge at long distance with patented algorithms (direct ToF)
    • Multi-object detection capability
    • Multi-zone scanning with selectable array (2x2, 3x3, 4x4, or defined by user through software)
  • Easy integration
    • Reflowable component
    • Single power supply 2v8
    • Works with many types of cover glass materials
    • I²C interface (up to 1 MHz)
    • Xshutdown (reset) and interrupt GPIO
    • Full set of software driver (Linux and Android compatible) for turnkey ranging
STM – VL53L1 Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

VL53L3CX Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

With multi-target detection

The VL53L3CX Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor from STMicroelectronics and embeds the company’s third generation FlightSense™ patented technology. The product combines a high performance proximity and ranging sensor, with multi-target distance measurements and automatic smudge correction. The miniature reflowable package integrates a single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array and physical infrared filters to achieve the best ranging performance in various ambient lighting conditions, with a wide range of cover glass windows.

STMicroelectronics VL53L3CX Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

VL53L1CB Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

Features Extended Distance

The VL53L1CB is the new Time-of-Flight sensor based on the STMicroelectronics patented FlightSense™ technology. The sensor is able to range up to 8m of the target color or material. The STMicroelectronics Histogram algorithm permits detection of different targets within the Field-of-View (FoV). The algorithm also provides immunity to cover glass cross-talk beyond 80cm. The SPAD array zone selection allows advanced multi-zone scanning. The VL53L1CB also has a programmable FoV from 15° to 27° dependent on the size of the SPAD array zone selection.

VL53L1CB Key Features

  • Long distance measurement up to 8m
  • Multi-target distance measurement based on ST Histogram patented algorithms
  • Immunity to cover glass cross-talk beyond 80cm
  • Automatic fingerprint smudge compensation
  • SPAD array zone selection for FoV reduction
  • Integrated lens for long distance ranging
  • Advanced multi-zone scanning

VL53L1CB Applications

  • Presence user detection
  • Obstacle detection
  • Accurate objects distance scanning
  • Power saving
  • Basic gesture recognition


Our Very Own
STaySafe Demonstration Board

With Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor

Future Electronics – STaySafe Demonstration Board with STMicroelectronics Time-of-Flight