STMicro unveils VL53L5 multi-zone ToF ranging sensor

We’ve previously covered or even tested STMicro Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensors with devices like VL53L0X with up to 2-meter range or VL53L1X extending the range to a maximum of 4 meters to measure the distance to one object aka region of interest (ROI). Those are used in various applications including the autofocus function in smartphones for example.

The company has now introduced a new model with VL53L5 ToF laser-ranging sensor boasting increased camera Field-of-View coverage and 64-zone spatial resolution to enable new features such as touch-to-focus, multiple-target identification, flash dimming, or video tracking assistance.

VL53L5 highlights:

  • 940 nm invisible Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) and integrated analog driver
  • 61° diagonal square system field of view (FoV) using diffractive optical elements (DOE) on both transmitter and receiver
  • Receiving array of single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs)
  • Parallel multi-zone output – Either 4×4 (16 zones @ 60 fps) or 8×8 (64 zones @ 15 fps) separate ROI
  • Up to 400 cm ranging
  • 60 Hz frame rate capability
  • Low-power 32-bit microcontroller running the firmware
  • I/O – 2x GPIOs for interrupt and synchronization
  • Host interface – I2C or SPI
  • Supply Voltage – Single 3.3 V or 2.8 V operation or combination of either 3.3 V or 2.8 V AVDD with 1.8 V IOVDD
  • Dimensions – 6.4 x 3.0 x 1.5 mm
  • Safety – Class 1 certification for eye-safe operation in consumer products.

The company provides Linux and Android software drivers to ease development. STMicro highlights the following applications:

  • Laser-assisted autofocus (LAF) enhances the camera AF system speed and robustness especially in difficult low light or low contrast scenes. VL53L5 can be used as a companion for phase detection autofocus (PDAF) sensors.
  • Scene understanding. Multi-zone and multi-object distance detection enables touch-to-focus or focus bracketing
  • Camera assist with flash dimming, indoor/outdoor detection, and background removal assist.
  • Augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) enhancements with dual-camera stereoscopy and 3D depth assistance thanks to multi-zone distance measurement
  • Video focus tracking. 60 Hz ranging allows optimization of continuous focus algorithm

STMicro VL53L5 is already in mass production, and the company claims millions of units have already been shipped to wireless and computer manufacturers. I could not find any VL53L5 board or module for sale at this time. Further details can be found on the product page.

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