A new crowdfunding campaign for a project called “tinyLiDAR” is set to launch this Friday, July 14th at 8:00am EDT.
It’s about a low-cost distance sensor module that makes use of a new laser sensor chip from ST Microelectronics called the VL53L0X. The chip has already shipped in over a quarter billion smartphones to date. The sensor chip is fairly complex to use but this project aims to fix all that by adding some smarts inside of a dedicated 32-bit microcontroller. As a bonus, they have souped-up the sensor to run at 50% higher than normal speeds.
You can visit their website now at https://www.tinylidar.com or go check out their campaign page after 8am Friday on Indiegogo at https://igg.me/at/tinylidar
“We were working on relatively simple project that needed an accurate but low cost proximity sensor some time ago” explains Dinesh Bhatia, Principal Design Engineer at MicroElectronicDesign. “Most of the ultrasonic sensors available online in abundance were horribly inaccurate when you actually tried to use them. But the specs looked great on their websites – I don’t know how they could get away with that! So we looked into companies that the big guys used. That’s where we found the new VL53L0X laser sensor chip from ST. Talk about a lot technology in this little package! It contains a laser embedded in the silicon and over 200 avalanche diodes that are so sensitive they can even respond to a single photon. And it can measure down to picoseconds. From their presentations we knew it had shipped in over 250 million phones so we knew it wasn’t based on fluff. But using it was the next challenge. There was so much technology in it that even the documentation was daunting. So we decided to change that by making a tiny board with a dedicated 32-bit microcontroller to deal with the laser sensor chip and talk in simple terms to Arduino. This makes tinyLiDAR one of the most user friendly and highest performing laser sensors around. And its perfect for Makers at any skill level.” The campaign is short and has fixed funding so be sure to contribute early if you want to see this project come to life.