TinyLIDAR is a $15 LIDAR MCU Board based on STMicro VL53L0X Time-of-Flight Ranging Sensor (Crowdfunding)

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used in autonomous car, drones, and some smartphones, in order to get an object position just like RADAR systems, but instead of using radio frequencies, it relies on infrared signals. High speed, long range LIDAR systems can cost several hundred dollars, but if you’d like to experiment with the technology, or your project would work just fine with 60 Hz scanning and a 2 meter range, tinyLIDAR could be a fun board to play with using Arduino compatible boards.

TinyLIDAR specifications and features:

  • LIDAR Sensor
    • ST VL53L0X Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor
    • 940nm laser VCSEL
    • Up to 2 meters range
    • Up to 60 Hz sampling rate even with Arduino UNO board
    • Up to 3% accuracy with mm precision
  • MCU – Unnamed dedicated 32-bit MCU (likely STM32) used to abstract the ST PAL API into simple I2C commands
  • Host Interface – 4-pin I2C header; re-configurable I2C address and operation modes
  • Misc – Blue LED, low profile reset button
  • Power Supply – +3 to +5V
  • Power Consumption – 10uA typ. Quiescent Current in single step mode
  • Dimensions –  25 x 21 mm (2x M2 mounting holes)
  • Weight – <1.5 g

Some of the advantages of the board against competing solution include lower power consumption, higher sampling rate (up to 60Hz), as well as lower memory and code footprints with 2604 bytes of program storage space and 252 bytes RAM with distance reading sketch in Arduino UNO compared to  6480 bytes / 414 bytes using Pololu VL53L0X library with a generic VL53L0X sensor board ($14) thanks the MCU in the board. They also claim the board is simpler to use thanks to their I2C command set. The company only showed 3D rendering of the board, but they do have working samples, as showed in the demo below with instructions available in instructables.com.

The Arrow Electronics certified project launched on Indiegogo with a $3,000 funding target. A $15 pledge will get you one tiny LIDAR, but you may as well as commit to three boards for $39. Shipping adds $5, and delivery is scheduled for October 2017. If you’d like to get such solution earlier, without built-in MCU and the advantages it brings, beside the $14 Polulu module linked above, you’ll also find a VL53L0X board working within  2.6 V to 5.5 V range on Aliexpress for $8.92 shipped.

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Anton Fosselius
2 years ago

Why not this stm32 + VL53L0X?: GY-53
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/ToF-time-of-flight-range-Sensor-VL53L0X-Infrared-laser-Module-serial-PWM-output-distance-data-GY/32820137277.html (CNXSoft: Changed shortlink into full link)

It is cheaper and got PWM and serial output.

Holger Hansen
Holger Hansen
2 years ago

@Anton Fosselius

Good find friend but why?
Indiegogo is not store for low price but to support new idea.
this one is showing improvement to sensor but china version not.
have you tried gy board? any program in stm32 chip? my arduino clone does not
if you try then tell me –
gy53 parallel – how? maybe not possible!
tinylidar – they make video to show it
gy53 sample rate- do you know?
tinylidar- 60hz shown
gy53 -25mA
tinylidar- 10uA
gy53 command – what are they?
tinylidar – they show on page and making new ones now

2 years ago

Hi, nice approach.
Where can I order the board?

2 years ago

Hi dopeng, you can order online at tinylidar.com Thanks.