Software turns ToF sensor into low-cost gesture recognition unit

Software turns ToF sensor into low-cost gesture recognition unit

New Products |
By Peter Clarke

A dedicated software package turns STMicroelectronics’ FlightSense time-of-flight ranging sensor into a gesture recognition unit that maintains privacy.

ST is providing free software for use with its VL53L5CX FlightSense time-of-flight (ToF) multizone ranging sensor to provide gesture-based controls cost effectively.

Gesture-based recognition is being introduced in high-end vehicles but could enhance many types of equipment, including kitchen appliances, thermostats, smart-home and smart-lighting controls, laptops, AR/VR headsets, tablets, and smartphones.

The sensor provides x, y, and z coordinates of the hand enabling hand tracking and allowing such gestures as tapping, swiping, level control, and more.

A different way

Conventional gesture-recognition systems typically use more expensive and intrusive camera-based machine vision. ST’s solution lets designers build systems that benefit from greater user privacy and lower power consumption, and that work in the dark without needing external illumination, unlike vision-based solutions.

The lightweight gesture algorithm can run on a low-power microcontroller and demands minimal system resources, so is easily integrated in an existing application.

The STSW-IMG035 software package is specially designed for the VL53L5CX multi-zone direct time-of-flight (dToF) ranging sensor and can be used with all STM32 microcontrollers. The VL53L5CX ToF sensor, provides 64 zones with ranging up to 400cm with a wide, square-edged 63-degree diagonal field of view.

The VL53L5CX sensor is in production and comes in a 6.4mm by 3.0mm by 1.5mm 16-pin optical LGA package, priced from $3.90 for orders of 1000 pieces. The turnkey STSW-IMG035 gesture package includes resources including a GUI, example code, and libraries.

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