ST has developed and patented its own technology, called FlightSenseTM, using Time-of-Flight (ToF) principle in order to propose new generation of high-accuracy proximity sensors.
FlightSenseTM technology based products are packaged in a module that integrates the proximity sensor Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) array, Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) as well as the Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) used by the proximity sensor feature, thus greatly easing the product integration.
Using a mature in-house imaging process and an in-house high-volume packaging solution, this advanced technology is ideally suited to a wide range of applications that require:
- Competitive system cost
- Very small package footprint
- Low power consumption.
FlightSenseTM technology can be used in a host of application areas where accurate ranging, that is target reflectance independent, is required; as conventional IR proximity sensor devices cannot output an absolute range measure in the same manner:
- Communication and consumer: browsing, remote control, proximity sensing, autofocus assist
- Home appliance: gesture for light management, robot cleaners, toys, drinking machines
- Automotive: on-board computer control with gesture
- Industrial: proximity and light detection, door control, robotics.
Ultra-low-power 3-in-1 module with proximity sensor, gesture and ambient light sensing
The VL6180X is the first fully integrated proximity and ambient light sensor, based on ST’s patented FlightSenseTM technology which allows absolute distance measurement, independent of target reflectance. Combining IR emitter, range sensor (0 to 10 cm), and ambient light sensor (1 to 100 kLux), the VL6180X module enhances multiple applications, keeping very low power consumption (<1 μA in standby mode, and 1.7 mA during typical ranging operation). Distance and signal level can also be used by host system to implement a simple gesture recognition feature.
The associated evaluation kit, PREMIUM-VL6180X, comprises a STM32 F401RE Nucleo based motherboard and a VL6180X expansion board. The output results from the sensor are immediately visible on an embedded digital display, and additional software is also available to offer an advanced GUI through personal computer. The part number for the VL6180X Premium EVK is STSW-VL6180X.