Broadcom APDS-9500 Tiny Proximity & Gesture Sensor Supports up to 9 Gestures

You can use advanced methods to implement gesture control using devices like Leap Motion, or a camera with a computer vision program like OpenCV, but if you have cost and size constraints, and can work with a limited number of gestures, Broadcom APDS-9500 proximity & gesture sensor might be a useful component as it comes in a 18-pin package, and supports up to 9 gestures. The chip also provides proximity detection for sensing objects approaching or departing.

Avago / Broadcom APDS-9500 key features:

  • Gesture output – 9 gesture recognition: g move up, move down, move left, move right, move forward, move backward, circle-clockwise, circle-counterclockwise and wave
  • Proximity output – Object brightness output and size output
  • Cursor mode output – X and Y output
  • Range – up to 60 cm
  • Image output – SPI output; 30 × 30 pixels / 60 × 60 pixels; 9-bit gray scale
  • Ambient light immunity
  • I2C-bus interface compatible with data rates up to 400 kHz
  • Dedicated Interrupt pin
  • Flexible power saving mode
  • VDD range from 2.8V to 3.3V
  • I/O voltage range from 1.8V to 3.3V
  • Package – 6.87 × 3.76 × 2.86 mm (L × W × H)

The I2C interface and interrupt pin are used to transfer gesture & proximity data, while the SPI interface is used for image output.

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Typical applications for the chip include gesture detection, cell phone touch-screen disable, mechanical switch replacement, and frontal face tracking.

The chips sells for $6.55 in single quantity and as low as $3.25 per unit for 2,500 pieces orders according to Digikey. More details can be found on the product page.

Update: Sparkfun also have a breakout board for APDS-9960, an older model, that sells for $14.95. You’ll also find many cheaper boards ($2.5 and up) on Aliexpress with APDS-9960, but nothing with the new APDS-9500 chip featured in this article yet.


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1 Comment
6 years ago

you can find APDS-9930-RGB on ebay for just over a euro, dunno what the difference is with the 9960 or 9500

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