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This small lidar-based distance sensor detects the presence of objects within 10 cm (4″). It has a single digital output that drives low when an object is being detected; otherwise, it is high. It works over an input voltage range of 3.0 V to 5.5 V, and the 0.1″ pin spacing makes it easy to use with standard solderless breadboards and 0.1″ perfboards.

Overview

This compact sensor is a great way to quickly detect the presence of nearby objects. As long as the sensor is enabled, it takes continuous distance measurements and uses a single digital output to indicate if it detects an object within its detection range. The output is driven low when the sensor detects an object; otherwise, the output is high.

 

A camera with no IR filter shows the infrared light emitted by a Pololu Digital Distance Sensor.

 

Please note that this sensor will only tell you if there is an object within the detection range along its line of sight, not how far away it is. As shown in the diagram above, there is hysteresis at the maximum range threshold to help ensure a clean transition as objects cross the threshold.

Unlike simpler optical sensors that use the intensity of reflected light to detect objects, this sensor uses a short-range lidar module to precisely measure how long it takes for emitted pulses of infrared, eye-safe laser light to reach the nearest object and be reflected back. This allows the sensor performance to be largely independent of object reflectivity and ambient lighting conditions (though the range can be reduced for extremely low-reflectance objects).

Some example applications include:

  • break-beam sensor or photogate alternative
  • non-contact bumper or obstacle detector for a robot
  • non-contact interface element for activating a device or process
  • a counter or timer of objects as they pass by

Specifications

 

 

  • Operating voltage: 3.0 V to 5.5 V
  • Current consumption: 30 mA (typical) when enabled, 0.4 mA when disabled
  • Maximum range: 10 cm (4″)
  • Minimum update rate: 115 Hz (8.7 ms period)
  • Field of view (FOV): 15° typical; can vary with object reflectance and ambient conditions
  • Output type: digital signal (low when detecting an object, high otherwise)
  • Dimensions: 0.85″ × 0.35″ × 0.122″ (21.6 × 8.9 × 3.1 mm); see the dimension diagram (192k pdf) for more information
  • Weight: 0.014 oz (0.4 g)

Using the sensor

 

 

Three connections are necessary to use this module: VIN, GND, and OUT. These pins are accessible through a row of 0.1″-pitch through holes, which work with standard 0.1″ (2.54 mm) male headers and 0.1″ female headers. The VIN pin should be connected to a 3 V to 5.5 V source, and GND should be connected to 0 volts. The OUT pin drives low (0 V) when an object is being detected and it drives high (to the VIN level) when an object is not being detected. It is weakly pulled high when the sensor is disabled or waiting for its first reading to complete after power-up. A red LED on the back side of the board also lights whenever an object is detected.

The board has an optional ENABLE pin that can be driven low to put it into a low-power state that consumes approximately 0.4 mA. This pin can be accessed through a via or its neighboring surface-mount pad on the back side labeled “EN” on the silkscreen. The ENABLE pin is pulled up to VIN, enabling the sensor by default.

The board features four surface-mount configuration jumpers that determine its operation mode. Different versions of the Pololu Digital Distance sensors ship with the appropriate jumpers pre-populated with 0 Ω resistors. These resistors can be desoldered from the populated spots or solder bridges can be added across the unpopulated spots to convert one sensor version into another. The table in the section below shows the jumper settings for the different versions.

The board has one mounting hole intended for use with #2 or M2 screws.

The Pololu Digital Distance Sensor family

We have several different versions of Pololu Digital Distance Sensors, all with the same dimensions and pinout:

Output type Sensor Maximum
range
Minimum
update
rate
Jumper
settings
(4321)
digital
(does not provide
distance measurement)
Digital output, 5cm 5 cm 145 Hz 0000
Digital output, 10cm 10 cm 115 Hz 0010
Digital output, 15cm 15 cm 95 Hz 0100
pulse width
(provides distance
measurement)
Pulse width output, 50cm max 50 cm 50 Hz 1110


These are the output graphs for the three digital output versions that just report if an object is in their detection range:

The output graph is a bit different for the version that uses a pulse width to encode the measured distance (item #2668). The output for this version is similar to hobby servo control signals and is shown below as a function of time:

 

Dimensions

Size: 0.85″ × 0.35″ × 0.122″
Weight: 0.4 g

General specifications

Maximum range: 10 cm
Sampling rate: 115 Hz1
Minimum operating voltage: 3.0 V
Maximum operating voltage: 5.5 V
Supply current: 30 mA2
Output type: digital3

Identifying markings

PCB dev codes: irs16a
Other PCB markings: 0J13085

Notes:

1. Minimum.
2. Typical average current draw when enabled; disabling via the EN pin reduces it to around 0.4 mA.
3. Low when detecting an object, high otherwise.

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