What is a Distance Sensor Working and Its Applications

In real-time, there are different methods are available to detect the distance of an object. Each of them is separated by a different range of basic hardware. Thus, distance sensor uses extremely broad technologies like laser, IR (infrared) triangulation, ultrasonic, LED-TOF (light-emitting diode-time-of-flight), etc. The selection of sensors mainly depends on the application. This sensor offers different range properties which include frequency, resolution, FOV (field-of-view), transmission-reception times, along with installation and constant process costs. This article aims to provide an overview of the distance sensor and its working.

What is the Distance Sensor?

A distance sensor is a reliable tool for a variety of applications for accurate as well as fast measurement, accurate positioning, and discovery of an extensive range of materials. The probable applications of this sensor mainly include examining the unwinding of coils, twofold sheet recognition otherwise the precise high bay stackers positioning.


How do these Sensors Work?

Generally, these sensors work by generating some kind of waves like a laser, IR LED, and ultrasonic then it reads how it has altered once it gets back. This change mainly depends on the returned signal’s intensity, and the time it takes to return back, etc. The terms of distance sensor include resolution, range, and update rate.


There is several things reason for deciding the option for best interfacing of a distance sensor project like a type of sensor, speed, power utilization, wire length from board to the sensor, etc.

How to Choose a Distance Sensor?

There are several unique choices to select and incorporate a sensor in your project. We focus mainly on four types of distance sensors like easy LEDs, LIDAR, ultrasonic and VCSEL. Each option has its pros and cons, and we have guides, projects, and tools to make sure you know which is right for you. The highlights of this sensor are reliable, low cost, easy setup, accurate, and measurement of non-contact distance in automation.

LED Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Low-cost, minute footprint, the update rate is decent, and numerous interface choices
  • Current utilization is high, the highest range is quite low

LIDAR Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Maximum range is excellent, the update rate is extremely fast
  • The expensive, large footprint and high current draw

Ultrasonic Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Current draw is very low, numerous interface options
  • Resolution is low, and the refresh rate is slow

VCSEL Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Broad i/p voltage range, well resolution and low-cost
  • I2C interface & extremely low maximum range


The applications of this sensor include the following.

  •  These sensors are used to measure the distance as well as placing over gripper of the robot during the applications of pick and place.
  • Placing tasks over palletizes
  • Measurement of the coil diameter
  • Detecting components & parts
  • Observing stack heights, detection of the double sheet, measurements of height within the wood, handling & packaging industries

Thus, this is all about the distance sensor or proximity sensor. These sensors are used for accurate and fast measurement, exact positioning as well as an extensive range of materials detection. These sensors are consistent tools used for numerous applications like checking of unwinding coils, detection of the double sheets. Here is a question for you, what are the types of distance sensors?