Making a mini 360° LiDAR for $40
December 21st, 2020—
LiDAR (or “light detection and ranging”) sensors are all the rage these days, from their potential uses in autonomous vehicles, to their implementation on the iPhone 12. As cool as they are, these (traditionally) spinning sensors tend to be quite expensive, well out of reach for most amateur experimenters. Daniel Hingston, however, has managed to build his own unit for under $40, using an Arduino Uno and a pair of VL53L0X time-of-flight (ToF) sensors.
The lighthouse employs a small gearmotor to rotate the two sensors on top of its cylindrical 3D-printed housing, passing signals to the Arduino via a slip ring. Data can then be visualized using a Processing sketch running on a nearby computer.
As seen at around the 10:00 mark in the video, the setup has been utilized to map out different test enclosures, and could be excellent for use in small robotic applications. More details can be found in Hingston’s tutorial here.