This sensor is a carrier/breakout board for ST’s VL53L3CX laser-ranging sensor, which offers fast and accurate ranging up to 5 m. It uses the time of flight (ToF) of invisible, eye-safe laser pulses to measure absolute distances to multiple targets simultaneously, independent of ambient lighting conditions and target characteristics like color, shape, and texture (though these things will affect the maximum range). Distance measurements can be read through a digital I²C interface. The board includes a 2.8 V linear regulator and level-shifters that allow it to work over an input voltage range of 2.6 V to 5.5 V, and the 0.1″ pin spacing makes it easy to use with standard solderless breadboards and 0.1″ perfboards. Note: This is not recommended for use with 8-bit MCUs; for such applications, consider the VL53L1X or VL53L0X carrier.
Note: this product is not recommended for use with 8-bit microcontrollers, and we also therefore do not provide support for it in the form of Arduino libraries as we do our other time-of-flight sensors. The VL53L3CX does not directly provide distance measurements. Instead, it provides histogram data that can be processed with algorithms provided by ST. This processing requires a significant amount of RAM and code space, making this sensor impractical for use with a typical 8-bit microcontroller. (For example, a program we compiled for an STM32F4 microcontroller that does little more than get readings from the VL53L3CX uses 63 KB of flash and 14 KB of global variables in RAM.) For alternatives that are simpler to use and can work with 8-bit microcontrollers, please consider the VL53L1X carrier or VL53L0X carrier.
December 2020 update: ST originally specified a 3 m (10 ft) maximum range for the VL53L3CX, and we initially released this product with the name “VL53L3CX Time-of-Flight Multi-Target Distance Sensor Carrier with Voltage Regulator, 300cm Max”. However, they have since released an updated API with software improvements that increase the maximum range to 5 m (16 ft), so we have updated the name of this product accordingly. The latest version of the API should enable this increased range on existing boards as well as new ones; the hardware has not changed.