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xLIDAR

Affordable and open-source LIDAR based on 3x VL53L0X ranging sensor

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The first objective of this project is to create a LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) entirely open source, the secondary objectives are to make it as small and affordable as possible.

Specifications:

- 3 x VL53L0X - Time-of-Flight ranging sensor

- On board incremental encoder with XSHUT signals for on start setup.

- ...

  • 3 × VL53L0X Time-of-Flight ranging sensor
  • 1 × Rotor PCB board Mount for the 3x VL53L0X with an encoder and zero position
  • 1 × Main PCB board Basic Breakout (on-board µC in the future)
  • 1 × Mini 5V Motor
  • 1 × Cassette belt

View all 7 components

  • First board design

    JRodrigo05/14/2018 at 22:22 0 comments

    For the first board design I opted for a basic design, like a breakout board. Once the prototype works correctly. But in the future the best option is to integrate a microcontroller to get the measurement and control the motor speed, obtaining this data via I2C, SPI, ...

    Main board breakout

    It's just a board with a MOSFET to control the motor speed and a pin header for the signals. To carry the rotor signals (VCC,GND,SDA,SCL,XSHUNT+ENCODER) I'm going to use the pins from a SD card slot.

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Discussions

Minimum Effective Dose wrote 07/05/2018 at 23:04 point

I love the concept.

It occurs to me that if the traces and and SD card spring contacts turn out to be a weak point, they could be avoided by using wires then running the disk for 1 revolution, then running in reverse direction for 1 revolution, and so on. Just reverse disk turning direction every revolution.

That way the disk never twists up the wires too much, but it's not that much more complicated to interpret the data; it's still very what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

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Daniel Roseman wrote 06/30/2018 at 04:07 point

I see the tracks as a weak point of this design. You could use magnetic coupling to transmit power (and even data), and optical down the center pivot to transmit data. Just a thought. 

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K.C. Lee wrote 07/06/2018 at 00:02 point

I have seen magnetic coupling for the head signals on an old VCR head.  I would put a wireless module e.g. ESP8266 to talk to the sensor and send out the data on WiFi.

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Shervin Emami wrote 06/29/2018 at 23:21 point

Nice idea & design! Be wary that VL53L0X isn't an analog sensor that you can run at any speed, it has various speed limitations such as how it is only expected to update the data at around 30 times per second, and it spends about 20ms for the distance ranging where it's expected that the distance won't have changed much. So realistically, you can probably only rotate your sensor at very slow speeds (I'm guessing just once per second). You might be better off building a PCB with 20 x VL53L0X sensors (the raw sensor can be affordable if you shop around) that doesn't move. Anyway, I'm sure your current design is good enough for some purposes even if it moves slowly. I hope it goes well!

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septer012 wrote 06/29/2018 at 18:48 point

Why three sensors, and not one or two or four or five or more?  Is there a sampling limitation which dictates how many sensors are required?  Maybe something to do with beam width at different ranges? What is the vertical resolution, same as horizontal beam width?

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ACROBOTIC Industries wrote 06/29/2018 at 19:04 point

arguably the easiest geometry to work with in terms of calibration 

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ris wrote 06/17/2018 at 19:51 point

So... why are you spinning the sensors and not a mirror?

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ACROBOTIC Industries wrote 06/29/2018 at 19:03 point

because you’d need to have a different photoreceiver 

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Martin wrote 07/03/2018 at 07:03 point

Not really. Think of a polygonal mirror and 3 sensors around it. I think you need a hexagonal mirror to avoid overlap as the mirror doubles the scan angle.

There is a problem  with dead zones, where the sensors block the light path when they look a t 90° on the mirror. So perhaps some overlap could be good, like using a square mirror. Or you tilt the sensors slightly upwards, so they don't see themselves. But then your sensing rays are titled upwards also, except you use a pyramidal mirror (upside down truncated pyramid) instead of a prismatic mirror.

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