Design News: Getting Started With Proximity Sensing



Jon Titus, Contributing Editor


The Vishay Semiconductors VCNL4000 reflectance proximity sensor combines an infrared (IR) LED and a photodetector with a second sensor that measures ambient light with a spectral response close to that of a human eye. The small sensor IC can detect an object out to about 20cm. Vishay suggests possible uses in smartphones, digital cameras, and tablet PCs. Other ideas include: hands-free light dimmers, pet door openers, industrial safety apparatus, etc.

The kit allows engineers to work with the small IC on a USB stick controlled by Vishay's measurement-and-control graphical user interface (GUI). I recommend the kit but with a few reservations about the quality of the accompanying manual. You must decipher many sentences and try to determine what the authors mean. I had hoped for real-world examples, which the otherwise good application information lacks.

The $35 kit worked well, and the software plotted signals from the sensor that takes into account and rejects ambient light. Software reads from or writes to 11 registers via an on-chip I2C port to set operating conditions such as LED current (10mA to 200mA), an ambient light parameter, and 16-bit ambient light and proximity values.

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Posted: 8 years 2 months ago by Jon Chandler #8896
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The VCLN4000 looks like an interesting part with a lot of flexibility. The LLC (leadless chip carrier) package isn't hobbyist friendly however.


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Posted: 8 years 2 months ago by Graham Mitchell #8895
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It's just amazing how compact devices are becoming. The package is 4x4mm and the pads are 0.35mm wide!

I certainly do not have the equipment to interface with devices that small, although reading up about new tech is always good for keeping a creative mind humming away.

Cheers for posting the article Jon.
Posted: 7 years 9 months ago by john fisher #9886
john fisher's Avatar
It might be magical thinking, but I want a no-touch keyboard made out of something like these, visual/audio feedback would be nice. And I want my gesture signature stored in the cloud, so I can be clumsy in my own individual way, and maybe even have some security from physical intrusion at my keyboard.

Can you have this on the market this year?

Interesting site, I added it to my feed.

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