Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Advanced FlightSense Multi-Zone Distance Sensor

By Nidhi Agarwal

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The FlightSense multi-zone distance sensor features a 90° field of view, surpassing the previous generation by 33%, offering user privacy with no image capture.

STMicroelectronics have launched a FlightSense multi-zone distance sensor with a 90° field of view, surpassing the previous generation by 33% and becoming the industry’s top performer. By leveraging optical technology, these sensors provide a lifelike situational awareness experience, proving invaluable in a wide range of applications, such as home automation, domestic appliances, computers, robots, and intelligent equipment used in stores and factories. Unlike cameras, the company claims FlightSense does not capture images, guaranteeing complete user privacy. However, they still deliver outstanding performance in presence detection and system activation, making them ideal for tasks like activating screens or waking up appliances such as ovens or coffee machines. 

With a 90° field of view, the sensor excels in peripheral sensing, significantly enhancing presence detection and system activation, like screen activation or waking up appliances such as ovens or coffee machines. With its multi-zone capability and motion indicator, these sensors find utility in applications like people detection and tracking, over-shoulder warning, occupancy detection, and storage/parking management. The new sensor enhances the performance of various applications, including smart waste management for tracking full and empty bins, floor sensing, cliff prediction, obstacle avoidance, small-object detection for robots, etc. The sensor presents native 64-zone sensing capability, enabling precise distance measurement to multiple objects within each zone, extending up to 350 cm. The FlightSense measures distances precisely from 2cm, consumes low-power (5.4mW) in efficient mode, and has an autonomous mode for selective wake-up based on thresholds like object distance, signal rate, and motion detection.

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“Our FlightSense technology inside Time-of-Flight multi-zone sensors enables sophisticated scene understanding with low demands on system power and processing,” said Alexandre Balmefrezol, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Imaging sub-group within ST’s Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group. “Extending the field of view now gives users even greater flexibility while maintaining accuracy, resolution, and simplicity.”

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