STMicroelectronics has announced its second generation FlightSense technology, its Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor, in its recently released VL53L0X laser-ranging sensor. The device claims to extend the ToF measurement range to 2m, and is accurate to within ±3%.

The VL53L0X claims to be faster, measuring the distance in under 30ms, and is highly energy-efficient, consuming only 20mW in active ranging mode and drawing 5µA in standby. At 2.4mm x 4.4mm x 1mm, it is also the smallest such device in the market, stated the company.

Unlike conventional infrared proximity sensors, the VL53L0X gives accurate distance measurement in millimetres, and is unaffected by the colour or reflectivity of the sensed target. Its fast-acting FlightSense technology, well known from the laser-assisted camera auto-focus featured in several smartphones from top brands, can also distinguish movement towards or away from the sensor or from side to side. Distance is calculated internally and communicated over I2C thereby minimising demands on the system host controller.


The integrated eye-safe laser emits non-visible light of 940nm wavelength, which eliminates the distracting red glow typically associated with other infrared proximity sensors and improves immunity to interference from external light sources. The sensor’s digital architecture and automatic light compensation further enhance performance in scenes with high ambient-lighting levels.

The sensing capabilities of the VL53L0X can support a range of functions including gesture sensing or proximity detection for innovative user interfaces, wall detection, cliff detection and collision avoidance for robotic appliances such as vacuum cleaners, as well as hands-free actuation of home appliances or washroom devices such as faucets, soap dispensers, hand dryers and flushers. Other applications include user-presence detection for laptops or monitors for power-on/off control, drones, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

To support fast and easy integration, the VL53L0X is supplied with a software application programming interface (API) as well as full documentation and example source code. Developers can take advantage of the X-NUCLEO-53L0A1 expansion board, which can be connected to the family of STM32 Nucleo MCU boards for easy evaluation of the VL53L0X performance.

The VL53L0X is in production in a 12-pad reflow-compatible module, priced at $2.30 for orders of 1,000 pieces. For mass-production orders, minimum order quantity (MOQ) is 5,000 units.