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Laser vs Ultrasonic - TOF10120 vs. HC-SR04

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DroneBot Workshop
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It's the Battle of the Distance Sensors with the tiny TOF10120 Laser versus everyone's favorite HC-SR04 Ultrasonic. I'll compare the two sensors and test their accuracy on the DroneBot Workshop Distance Sensor Testbed!

Accompanying article at

I recently obtained a few TOF10120 Laser time-of-flight sensors and I wanted to see how they stacked up against the old faithful HC-SR04 ultrasonic range sensor. So I decided to put them both to the test. In fact, I even built a custom testbed to do the job!

The TOF10120 is a very tiny sensor that uses VCSEL (Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) technology to measure distance. It communicates using I2C and also has a serial connection. It is available from many vendors, including Amazon and eBay.

The HC-SR04 is an ultrasonic sensor that I’ve used many times before, I even did a video and article about it a couple of years ago. It uses pulses of ultrasonic sound and measures the time it takes for them to be reflected back from a target. You then use the speed of sound to determine the distance to the target.

I helped out my HC-SR04 by adding a DHT-22 temperature and humidity sensor, as the speed of sound is affected by both variables.

After testing out both sensors I put them on my testbed, constructed from the finest quality scrap wood. Nothing is too good for you folks!

The results were a bit surprising in some senses, although I was limited by the confines of my workshop and that proved to be a problem with the ultrasonic sensor.

Here is a breakdown of today's exciting competition:

00:00 - Introduction
01:40 - Sensor Comparisons
08:43 - TOF10120 Hookup and Sketch
14:17 - HC-SR04 Hookup and Sketch
18:23 - Test Bed Setup
21:08 - Testing the TOF10120
24:12 - Testing the HC-SR04

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak