Cheap depth camera with a small footprint to use with Arduino or Raspberry Pi

I am looking for a cheap depth sensor (something like one used in IPhones) to use with Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Budget: ~$50
Range: more than 2 meters

I have already looked into sensors like intel realsense depth camera and lidars.

But as I want it to be low cost, I am searching for something like an 2-dimensional array of ToF sensors (with a small footprint) that could give me an estimate of depth as a square matrix.

If someone can provide any suggestions, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you.

There are plenty of inexpensive distance sensors. Specify budget and range desired.

You want to use a single camera to determine distance to an object from the camera lens?
I would use two cameras to achieve this, or better yet another sensor specifically meant for measuring distance.

I would use one of these
Kinect Sensor

But don't get it from the link. These are available at a stupidly low price at any "cash converters" or other second hand computer shops. Less than £10 in most cases.

Hi @jremington,
I updated my question.



I understand that a stereo setup and even a single RGB camera could be used for depth estimate, but it would be great if you have suggestions for some sensor that could directly measure depth.

Thank you!


But kinect has a huge footprint. I am looking for something cheap and small footprint. Something like an array of ToF sensors.

Thank you!

Sure do. To directly measure depth use an ultrasonic sensor.
We may be dealing with a communication issue.
What are you trying to find the depth of?

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Pololu has a collection of distance sensors: Pololu - Proximity Sensors and Range Finders

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Yes i said it was cheap. But it would have been nice to know about your size requirement from the outset.

Did you not read the getting the best out of this forum sticky post. It specifically mentions not altering your first post except for putting any code in code tags. This because it makes the following responses look stupid, which they were not.

But, you seem to have trouble explaining what those terms mean.

BTW: nothing associated with iPhone is "cheap", so it is pointless to use that as a comparison.

I meant no disrespect.
This is my first post in this forum. Sorry for any inconveniences.

Hello @jremington,

I agree that nothing associated with iPhone is cheap.
But I came across ToF sensors that could measure small distances.
Link: tinyLiDAR ToF Range Finder Sensor - RobotShop

Based on this, I have been looking for some product that has an array of such sensors on a single board.

I also came across VCSEL sensors: Zio TOF Distance Sensor RFD77402 (Qwiic, 10 to 200cm) - RobotShop

I even tried looking for an array of such VCSEL sensors: Vertical-cavity Surface-emitting Lasers: VCSEL arrays provide leading-edge illumination for 3D sensing | Laser Focus World

But I could not find any such product in DIY community. I posted this question to see if someone has built such an array or if there already exists one that I have missed.
The best option for me otherwise would be to build it myself as an adhoc array using multiple ToF sensors (but it will become bulky very soon :expressionless:).

Perhaps you not aware that the small TOF sensors generally have a large cone of vision, up to 30 degrees. It is hard to see how a planar array of those would be useful.

On the other hand, you could buy two ESP32-Cam modules for less than $20 and use OpenCV to make your own 3D depth camera.

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Ohkay. I was not aware of the large cone of vision.

Hi @er_name_not_found
I tried setting up a small rig of 3x3 ultrasonic sensors myself around 2 weeks ago. :slightly_smiling_face:

But these sensors are noisy and super low frequency.

My objective is to perform depth assisted odometry using such a sensor.

In the future that would be helpful in the first post. For now if you edit your title to include it you're likely to get better help results.

Happy Programming!

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The ultrasonic sensors have an even larger cone of vision, and of course interfere with each other, so they have to be fired sequentially, with plenty of wait time until the echos die away. Sound in air travels roughly 1 meter in 3 milliseconds.

Like this one:-
wi fi camera

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Thank you for sharing this. I am getting one! :smiley: