The Maker-Friendly Laser Sensor
We were simply amazed by the level of interest from so many brilliant people around the world. From makers to photonics research scientists – it’s all thanks to their generosity that we have tinyLiDAR available today. Thank you!
With 60Hz sample rates, reading speeds in excess of 900Hz and factory pre-calibration for every unit; tinyLiDAR is the highest performing VL53L0X based time-of-flight ranging module available.
Easy to Use
The high performance is thanks to our custom firmware residing in the on-board 32bit ultra-low power microcontroller. It abstracts out the complex low level VL53L0X control tasks so you can get your results using only simple I2C commands from any micro.
- Advanced Technology: Eye safe VCSEL Class 1 Laser
- Ultra Fast: up to 60Hz sample rates and up to approx 930Hz I2C reading rates even with an Arduino UNO.
- Accurate: to 3% with mm precision. Every unit is pre-calibrated by us before shipping.
- Ultra Low Power: <3uA typ Quiescent Current in ULP SS mode at 2.8v supply.
- Long Range: up to 2 meters.
- Small Size: 21 x 25 x 8.3 mm.
- Light Weight: <1.5g.
- Easy to Parallel using I2C bus.
- RoHS compliant, Lead-Free assembly.
- Integrated level shifter for native 3v to 5v operation.
- Remotely re-configurable I2C board address and operation modes.
- On board non-volatile storage for I2C address, calibration and settings.
- Several connector options including GROVE, SMD or standard 0.1 inch (2.54mm) header pins.
- Blue activity LED to show measurement activity.
- Hardware WatchDog Timer to automatically reboot tinyLiDAR if no I2C bus activity is seen in approx 3 seconds.
- Ultrasonic Emulation mode to allow reads using any code meant for the common HC-SR04 or PING))) sensors.
- Real Time mode for ultra-low power IoT measurements.
The VL53L0X Time-of-Flight distance sensor is a very small SMD device that requires surface mount soldering before it can be used. If you look closer at it, you can see there are two small holes in the package to let light through. In order to prevent soldering chemicals from damaging the sensor, a piece of yellow polyimide (high temperature) tape is used on top of this sensor. After reflow SMD soldering, the tape should be removed before using the sensor. In fact, the high soldering temperatures also change parameters inside the sensor and this results in a random offset distance that must be calibrated out before using it for any accurate distance sensing application.
That is what we do here before shipping the tinyLiDAR modules.
The offset calibration is done per ST spec in a shielded chamber at exactly 100mm distance in “high accuracy” mode. We then test it for other items and normally leave it in the “tinyLiDAR” mode which is not as accurate but has a very quick response. This “factory” offset calibration we perform is stored in non-volatile storage on board tinyLiDAR‘s 32bit micro and is therefore accessible whenever you type “reset” on the GUI Terminal. If desired, you can perform your own custom offset calibration but the factory version is never erased so you can get back to it with “reset” whenever you like.
We have sucessfully used tinyLiDAR over 5m (over 16 feet) away from the Arduino UNO using only a low cost USB2.0 cable as shown in the connection diagram below.
tinyLiDAR was powered from the Arduino +3.3v supply.
I2C speed was set at the default 100Kbps rate and the default 4.7K pull-up resistors (provided on the tinyLiDAR board) were used.