EYE on NPI – Intel RealSense LIDAR camera #EyeOnNPI #LIDAR #DigiKey @DigiKey @Intel @Adafruit

This weeks EYE ON NPI (video) gets REAL with the Intel RealSense LIDAR camera. This surprisingly powerful camera is easy to use and has both color and LIDAR depth output data. This makes it perfect for use in robotics, interactive art, 3D scanning…all sorts of projects where spatial sensing is required. It was announced in 2019 but didn’t start shipping until a few months ago.

Almost 10 years ago, Adafruit sponsored a Kinect-hacking bounty to take an off-the-shelf video game accessory and turn it into a tool for anyone to use. The open source cross-platform drivers spawned hundreds of awesome projects, from the scientific and artistic, to the humanist and just plain silly. With the Kinect discontinued, it’s been a challenge to find a low cost alternative with an easy API. Until now! This little sensor is smaller than a tuna can and is a complete system with plug-and-play USB type C port for power and data.  There’s even an BMI085 IMU inside!

Intel RealSense’s L515 is a type of solid state LiDAR technology-based depth camera. It uses LiDAR technology to scan a full scene allowing it to provide a point cloud with up to 23 million points of accurate depth data per second. It delivers consistent high depth accuracy throughout the supported range of the camera starting at 25 cm up to 9 meters. The accuracy of the L515 within its operational range is less than 20 mm Z error at maximum range. With an internal vision processor, L515 achieves motion blur artifact reduction by an exposure time of less than 100 ns (nanoseconds), ideal for capturing rapidly moving objects with minimal motion blur. Additionally, the 4 ms photon to depth latency allows real-time applications such as autonomous navigation. An RGB camera, gyroscope, and accelerometer round out the capabilities of the device for high-quality performance and use case flexibility.

Smaller than a tennis ball, the Intel RealSense LiDAR Camera L515 has a diameter of 61 mm and is 26 mm in height. Weighing in at around 100 g (3.5 oz), it is designed to be easily situated on any prototype or attached to a tablet or phone for use in handheld room scanning or volumetric measurement applications.

The L515 uses the same open source Intel RealSense SDK 2.0 as all other current-generation Intel RealSense Depth Cameras, which is platform independent, supporting Windows, Linux®, Android™, and macOS. This includes wrappers for many common platforms, languages and engines, including Python, ROS, C/C++, C#, Unity, Unreal, OpenNI, and NodeJS, with more being added constantly.


  • Depth FOV (field of view): (H × V) 70°±2° x 55°±2°
  • Depth resolution: Up to 1024 x 768 depth resolution (XGA resolution)
  • Depth frame rate: 30 frames per second
  • RGB frame rate: 30 frames per second
  • RGB resolution: Up to 1920 x 1080 RGB resolution
  • RGB FOV: (H x V) 70° ±3° x 43° ±2°
  • Use environment: Indoor
  • Inertial measurement unit: Bosch BMI085
  • Range: From 25 cm to 9 m range
  • Connection type: USB-C® 3.1 gen 1 connection
  • Dimensions: 61 mm diameter x 26 mm height
  • Mounting: Two M3 x 0.5 mounting points and one 1/4 20 UNC thread mounting point

It shows up in a few ways when you plug it into your computer. For integration into projects that use OpenCV or other camera-based inputs, you will see a dual UVC camera, one called ‘Depth’ which is the LIDAR and one called ‘RGB’ which is a regular camera, that you can overlay over the depth data. The cameras are really high res as well – 1024×768 depth resolution and 1920 x 1080 RGB resolution. Compare that to the Kinect’s 640×480!

We like that this sensor has industrial-quality sensing with engineer-and-maker-friendly development. No NDAs for datasheets, no signups for code – everything needed to get set up was shockingly convenient. There’s even a developer center with firmware upgrades, documentation, code samples, and a community group. There’s a lot of support, so we think this is a great option for low cost depth sensing – a really fabulous NPI!

Interested? Of course, you are! Pick up an Intel RealSense camera from Digi-Key today, it’s part number 2311-82638L515G1PRQ-ND, and you could have it ready for your next amazing project tomorrow morning!

See more in the Intel video below:

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.