Time-of-Flight proximity sensors enable social distancing

July 20, 2020 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Time-of-Flight proximity sensors enable social distancing
High-accuracy FlightSense™ Time-of-Flight proximity and ranging sensors from STMicroelectronics (ST) are helping prevent disease transmission in innovative products developed by customers in response to the global pandemic situation.

Amsterdam-based startup Aura Aware is using FlightSense Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors in a smart distance-awareness portable device suitable for use at retail counters and check-in desks. The easy-to-setup device displays a green OK signal that changes to red if a person crosses a safe minimum-distance threshold.

“This innovative device from Aura Aware shows a highly creative use of our FlightSense technology. ST’s ToF sensors can help protect our health in many ways, ensuring both social distancing and touchless interaction with all kinds of products that we use every day,” said David Maucotel, Business Line Director, Imaging, STMicroelectronics.

The ranging performance of the FlightSense™ Time-of-Flight sensor is unaffected by object color or reflectivity. Further, gesture-detection capabilities unlock many more personal protection applications.

Aura Aware devices integrate the VL53L1X compact ToF sensor from ST, which has an operating range of up to four meters and very low power consumption. Signal processing built into the sensor simplifies design and provides sophisticated features such as crosstalk compensation that maintains measurement accuracy even if the sensor window becomes obscured by foreign material.

Time-of-Flight sensors transmit photons and then calculate distance to the target based on the time it takes for the reflected photons to be received back by the sensor. Moreover, ranging accuracy is unaffected by surface characteristics of the  target, such as clothing color or skin reflectivity, making FlightSense ideal for helping people to maintain social distancing.

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