STMicro VL53L8 multi-zone direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) sensor improves range and efficiency

STMicro VL53L8 multi-zone direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) sensor doubles the ranging performance of VL53L5 sensor – up to 4 meters – or reduces the power consumption by half when operating in common conditions.

STMicro ToF sensors are some of the most popular devices to accurately measure distance in real-time, and the earlier VL53L0X and VL53L1X sensors integrated a single photon avalanche diode. STMicro VL53L5 changed that with multi-zone support (up to 64 zones), and VL53L8 FlightSense sensor builds on the solution with improvements in terms of range and efficiency.

STMicro VL53L8STMicro VL53L8 ToF sensor specifications:

  • Low-power 32-bit microcontroller running the firmware
  • 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) discrete regions of interest (ROI)
  • Up to 400 cm ranging
  • 60 Hz frame rate in 4×4 mode, 15 Hz frame rat in 8×8 mode
  • I/O – 2x GPIOs for interrupt and synchronization
  • Host interface – I2C up to 1 MHz or SPI up to 20 MHz
  • Supply Voltages – 1.8 V Core supply, 3.3V AVDD supply, optional 1.2 or 1.8V IOVDD interface voltage levels
  • Dimensions – 6.4 x 3.0 x 1.75 mm
  • Safety – IEC 60825-1 Class 1 certification for eye-safe operation in consumer products.

Besides the lower power consumption, the specs are basically the same as for VL53L5, which also claims a 400 cm range (maybe performance in improved low light conditions), but VL53L8 is a bit thicker. STMicro provides software drivers for Linux and Android operating systems, and the ToF sensor can be integrated into smartphones, smart speakers, human-machine interfaces, consumer LiDAR, and AR/VR/MR for a variety of applications including:

  • Laser assisted autofocus (LAF) to improve speed and robustness especially in difficult low light or low contrast scenes.
  • Scene understanding using multi-zone and multi-object distance detection to enable touch-to-focus or focus bracketing.
  • Camera selection for quick, automatic selection of optimal camera in multi-camera smartphones or devices.
  • Camera assist enabling flash dimming, indoor/outdoor detection and background removal assist.
  • Augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) enhancement. Dual camera stereoscopy and 3D depth assistance thanks to multi zone distance measurements
  • Video focus tracking thanks to 60 Hz ranging
  • Enhancement of camera bokeh performance through captured scene depth data.
  • Basic object tracking and gesture recognition

STMicro VL53L8 is now entering mass production but is only available to select customers at this time. More details may be found on the product page.

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2 Replies to “STMicro VL53L8 multi-zone direct Time-of-Flight (dToF) sensor improves range and efficiency”

  1. Surprisingly there’s zero info about resolution/accuracy in their “databrief”. If it can measure up to 4m with mm resolution or with 20cm resolution it’s not the same. Previous products were apparently speaking about mm resolution with a few percent accuracy, so we can hope it remains within such a range.

  2. The longer the ranging duration is the better accuracy will be. There is no guaranteed accuracy though. Depending on environmental conditions, temperature drift, objects to detect, you can get very good or not so satisfactory results. The multizoning performance of the L5 degraded beyond 170cm distance so I am curious about if this new L8 will be able to measure multiple zones beyond 170cm distance.

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