The VL53L1X is a laser-ranging sensor from STMicroelectronics, capable of measuring distances up to 4 meters. It employs a 940 nanometers invisible laser beam (class 1 safety) and a SPAD photodetector (single-photon avalanche diode) to measure the time traveled by the laser beam between the sensor and the target. This technique is called Time of flight (ToF) and allows the calculation of the path traveled by the laser beam.
Here are the board's main features:
The first step with the VL53L1X Distance Sensor Sensor is to solder the 6 pin header that comes along with the board. The easiest way to solder the board is to insert the header into a breadboard (long pins down) and solder the short pins to the board.
Finally, don't forget to remove the protective film covering the sensor before using it, in order to guarantee proper sensor performance.
Connecting the VL53L1X on the I2C bus is very easy. The first step is to connect the board to the power supply.
Great! Now we need to connect the sensor to the I2C bus. The I2C communication uses basically two wires. The clock signal is generated by the Arduino and transferred to the sensor through the SCL line. The Arduino can send commands to the sensor using the SDA line. Just as well, all data from the sensor goes back to the Arduino through the SDA line. Because of that, the SDA line is bidirectional.
Although there is currently no Arduino Library from BlueDot available for this sensor, you can use the great library written by Pololu to connect to the VL53L1X. You can download and install the library directly from the Arduino IDE. Just open the Arduino IDE and go to Sketch > Include Library > Manage Libraries... and search for the Pololu Library on the Library Manager. You can find this library under the name "VL53L1X".
Alternatively, you can download the latest version of the library from their Github repository.
After installing the library we can open an example sketch. Just go to File > Examples > VL53L1X and open the sketch Continuous.
No changes are needed to run the sketch. Please note that the baud rate is set to 115200 per default.
A 3D model of the BlueDot VL53L1X board is available as a STEP file (click here to download). A STEP file is a CAD file format widely used for exchanging CAD files between companies and can be easily read by most (if not all) CAD software applications.
You can also view 3D models online without installing any software on your computer. The images below were taken using Autodesk Viewer, a online, free to use tool from Autodesk. It does require a registration at Autodesk, but it is worth it!
Datasheet VL53L1X STMicroelectronics (pdf file)
Schematics Breakout Board BlueDot VL53L1X (pdf file)