Multi-zone ToF sensor targets PCs

STMicroelectronics has launched its latest FlightSense time-of-flight (ToF) multi-zone sensor for the PC market. The new VL53L5CP ToF sensor delivers user detection, gesture recognition, and intruder alert in a turnkey solution.

The multi-zone sensors continuously scan the field of view to map the scene and gather intelligence without using a camera or recording images, said STMicroelectronics, and  can detect and track multiple targets, calculating at high speed their X/Y/Z coordinates and motion.

Multi-zone ToF sensor targets PCs

(Source: STMicroelectronics)

The VL53L5CP can detect multiple targets in 64 (8 × 8) zones in a wide 61-degree field of view (FoV) using diffractive optical elements ON both the transmitter and receiver. The integrated module, measuring 6.4 × 3 × 1.5 mm, also incorporates a 940-nm VCSEL infrared light emitter and integrated analog driver, in addition to a receiving single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array, and low-power microcontroller to run the firmware.

The sensor offers distance ranging up to 400 cm and a frame rate capability of 60 Hz. Power supply options include 1.8, 2.8, or 3.3 V IOVDD and 2.8 or 3.3 V VADD.

The sensor includes ST’s Presence Premium PLUS, a proprietary third generation of algorithms dedicated to PC applications. It supports advanced features and enhanced data protection.

Certified by Intel, the VL53L5CP and Presence Premium PLUS software is supported in Windows 11 and enables features such as smart power management, enhanced security, and touchless user interaction. The solution also enables wake-on-approach and walk-away lock, which delivers a “always-on” user experience while providing battery-energy savings. Automatic and immediate walk-away lock also prevents unauthorized access and data protection while the user is away, said STMicroelectronics.

The Presence Premium PLUS software also enables PC designers to develop custom AI applications in Windows. Also, dynamic programming of the VL53L5CP’s key parameters from Windows allows the end user to personalize parameters such as timing and lock/wake distances, said the company.

By enabling these features using non-vision-based ToF technology rather than the PC’s webcam, ST said it eliminates any privacy concerns. The sensor is always on removing dependence on the webcam shutter position. The sensor’s integrated 940-nm VCSEL infrared light emitter delivers full performance in dark or low-light conditions, compared with cameras that need an LED to light the scene.

Other key features include multi-human detection (MHD) and touchless gesture sensing. MHD senses other people in the field of view and analyzes their position and movements to assess security risks such as “shoulder surfing,” alerting the user as required. Touchless gesture sensing allows the user to control PC applications without touching the Screen, keyboard, or mouse. It can detect directional swipes and taps, as well as level adjustments, which allows developers to implement instructions such as next or previous slide/song/video, play/pause, and volume control.

ST said the FlightSense technology outperforms other technologies for human detection, including traditional infrared sensors that do not measure distance and are affected by the color and reflectance of detected objects; ultrasound, which is sensitive to noisy environments, and radar, which requires very complex software development in addition to signal processing.

The VL53L5CP FlightSense multi-zone ToF sensor is available now in volume production.

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