This is the definition of the ToF principle:
Time-of-Flight principle (ToF) is a method for measuring the distance between a sensor and an object, based on the time difference between the emission of a signal and its return to the sensor, after being reflected by an object.
If you read the above principle, most probably you remember it from the ultrasonic sensors.
Back to the Broadcom’s sensor, it uses the ToF principle to measure the distance and motion of objects. If an ultrasonic sensor uses ultrasounds to measure the distance and detect the motion of an object, the AFBR-S50 sensor uses optics. The sensor uses up to 3000 frames per second with up to 16 illuminated pixels for detection and measurements.
According to the specifications, the sensor can be used outside. We know that the optical sensors don’t have a good return in strong sunlight. This one seems to have on white, black, colored and metallic reflective surfaces.
Other important specifications:
- measure distances up to 10m for a black target. No data about other targets;
- the accuracy of < 1 percent (I guess that this is only for the black target!?);
- the voltage supply is 5V;
- the data is transferred via a digital SPI interface;
- the sensor supports up to 3000 frames per second;
The area of applications for the AFBR-S50 sensor is especially robotics and automation.