STMicroelectronics launches multi-zone ToF sensor for user presence detection, gesture recognition

Article By : STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics' latest FlightSense ToF multi-zone sensors can detect multiple targets in 64 zones within a wide 61-degree field of view.

STMicroelectronics’ latest FlightSense Time-of-Flight (ToF) multi-zone sensors continuously scan their field of view to map the scene and gather intelligence without using a camera or recording images. By using ToF technology, the sensors can detect and track multiple targets, calculating at high speed their X/Y/Z coordinates and motion.

Delivered together with a suite of valuable software algorithms, the combination provides a turnkey solution for user detection, gesture recognition, and intruder alert, specially designed for the PC market.

The latest VL53L5CP FlightSense multi-zone sensor can detect multiple targets in 64 (8×8) zones within a wide 61-degree field of view. The sensor comes with Presence Premium PLUS, ST’s proprietary third generation of algorithms dedicated to PC applications, supporting its advanced and innovative features and enhancing data protection. Interacting with native aspects of the PC hardware and OS, this turnkey solution is certified at the highest level by Intel Corp.

The VL53L5CP and Presence Premium PLUS software are optimized for PC applications and supported in Windows 11. PC designers can thus implement innovative features including smart power management, enhanced security, and touchless user interaction. ST’s presence solution has been the pioneer to enable wake-on-approach and walk-away lock, which enable a seamless “always-on” user experience while maximizing battery-energy savings. Automatic and immediate walk-away lock also prevents unauthorized access and data protection while the user is away.

In addition, multi-human detection (MHD) senses other people in the field of view and analyzes their position and movements to assess security risks such as “shoulder surfing.” In relevant situations, the system alerts the user.

Another breakthrough innovation in the VL53L5CP is robust touchless gesture sensing, which allows the user to control PC applications without touching the screen, keyboard, or mouse. The sensor can detect directional swipes and taps, as well as level adjustments. With access to such information, developers can easily implement instructions such as next or previous slide/song/video, play/pause, and volume control.

Global technology powerhouse and the world’s leading PC company Lenovo is integrating ST’s presence solution in select laptops.

“Today’s flexible, mobile working lifestyles demand privacy and ease of use to maximize productivity. That’s why we’ve integrated ST’s presence solution based on camera-free ToF sensing into Lenovo PCs. From logging into and locking one’s device hands-free based on human presence detection to using hand gestures to swipe content, we’re making Lenovo PCs smarter and more adaptive,” said Zhaochun Ma, Lenovo Vice President of Consumer and SMB Notebook Development Center, Intelligent Devices Group.

ST’s Presence Premium PLUS software also enables PC designers to develop custom AI applications in Windows, leveraging the VL53L5CP sensor’s 8×8 multi-zone data to sense user intent, with continuous presence detection. In addition, dynamic programming of the VL53L5CP’s key parameters from Windows allows the end user to personalize parameters such as timing and lock/wake distances.

By enabling these features using non-vision-based ToF technology rather than the PC’s webcam, the VL53L5CP enables superior differentiation in several respects. With no image, it eliminates any privacy concerns. The sensor is always on, hidden behind the bezel, thereby removing dependence on the webcam shutter position. In addition, the sensor integrates a 940nm VCSEL infrared light emitter, invisible to human eyes, which ensures full performance in the dark or low-light conditions. In contrast, cameras need a dedicated power-hungry LED to illuminate the scene.

ST’s FlightSense technology outperforms several other techniques used for human detection. These include traditional infrared sensors, which do not measure distance and are affected by the color and reflectance of detected objects. Ultrasound is sensitive to noisy environments and may affect pets’ hearing. Radar requires very complex software development on top of power-hungry signal processing.

“We continue to unleash more of the extraordinary potential from our FlightSense ToF technology to enable imaginative features across a full range of smart products,” said Eric Aussedat, ST’s Executive VP, Imaging Sub-Group General Manager. “Now entering the fourth generation, our latest ToF sensor enables PCs to understand their users, creating a stronger connection and more rewarding ownership experience.”

The VL53L5CP FlightSense multi-zone ToF sensor is in volume production and available now with the Presence PREMIUM PLUS algorithms.

 

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