The Sensors – Part 3: Digital Proximity Sensor

   The Sensors – Part 3: APDS-9960 Digital Proximity Sensor 

   Today, as you can guess, we will continue started in Part 2 discussion about the Proximity detection.

   Let’s describe the APDS-9960 Digital Proximity Sensor By Broadcom 

   This is the RGBC Light Sensor & IR LED – with a Proximity and Gesture Detecting ability in single Ultra-Compact Optical Module.  

   Let’s see this interesting chip. It could be very useful in many of your Robotic Hobby designs.

   The Broadcom APDS-9960 is an Ambient light, digital proximity and gesture control making sensor device.  Red- Green- Blue- Clear Photo Sensors and built-in IR LED diode, are integrated into a small 8-pin SMT package.


APDS-9960 Dimensions : L=3.94 mm, W=2.36 mm, H=1.35 mm

PIC. 1  APDS-9960 – Mini Optical-Module General View





PIC.2  Based on APDS-9960 Digital Proximity, Ambient Light, RGB and Gesture Sensor By Broadcom / formerly AVAGO

   This awesome light “specialist” can resolve many light related tasks as followed:

   RGB and ambient light sensing functions allow detection of light intensity under different lighting conditions and through various lossy materials, including darkened plastic and glass plates.

   The device communicates with host MCU using an I2C compatible interface providing red, green, blue, clear (RGBC), proximity and gesture sensing with IR LED. 

   The sophisticated optical module is providing Red – Green -Blue and clear (R-G-B-C), proximity and gesture sensing with IR LED. 

    In addition, the integrated UV-IR blocking filter enables accurate ambient light and correlated color temperature sensing.

   The lower power consumption is possible by putting the device into a sleep mode between different active mode measurement activities.

  The proximity part of described optical system is factory-calibrated to 10 cm proximity detection distance, without any other user requiring iterations.  

   Special Arrangement Geometry of the Multicolor: Both RGBC Photosensors are providing equalization of received and measured light parameters. 

   There are four Separate Photodiodes for achievement the four Different goals:  Red + Green + Blue + Clear (ambient function) are forming “massive and smart”- as idea tool for sensing of any color, and any light intensities from the different directions.

   The accurate detection of common command as represented in 2-Dimention area or four different commands (Up, Down, Left, Right) also uses Proximity and Gesture Sensing units – the main part of them has integrated a thin film visible light blocking filter. 



PIC. 3  APDS-9960 – The 8-pin Mini SMT leadless package integrate two sub-modules, separated by special shield

APDS-9960 – Digital Proximity, RGB Sensor – Key Features:

  • Super Mini Package:  Dimensions: L3.94 x W2.36 x H1.35 mm,
  • Ambient Light Measurement,
  • I2C Communication Interface with Separate Interrupt Output Pin,
  • High Sensitivity Mode – Enables the operation behind darkened plastic or glass plates, 
  • RGBC – Four individual (Red, Green, Blue & Clear ) Light photosensors,
  • Ultraviolet – UV & Infrared – IR Block Filter,
  • Specially arranged RGBC Photodiodes: It allows the equal response and balancing of different polarized light sources, 
  • Built-In micro-optics lenses provided the improvement the  Photodiode’s Receiving Sensitivity and efficiently concentrating the infrared LED ray,
  • Each Device has made the factory calibration to 10 cm threshold detection distance,
  • Ultra-Low Consumption in Sleep Mode: typical 1.0 µA,
  • The optical module has a specially optimized design for minimizing the influence by proximity cross-talk interferences.

Typical Device Applications:

  • In Robotics and Hobby DIY Devices,
  • Power Consumption Optimization of Electronic Devices, Power-On on demand: User is in range,
  • White Balance & Auto intensity of Display Backlight Control,
  • Display Color Coverage Calibration,
  • Smart color measurement devices,
  • Near the ear – Cell Phone and Digital Camera touchscreen blanking,
  • Wikipedia Link: Palm and Hand moving Gesture Detection,
  • Color Temperature Sensing,
  • Countless work cycles electronic switch.

 Proximity Sensor can be used to Toggle the Power Supply State in different devices.


APDS-9960 – PDF Document Link: Broadcom {in English}

APDS-9960  Digital Proximity, Ambient Light, RGB and Gesture Sensor By Broadcom / formerly AVAGO



{Source: Broadcom}



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