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Review: PulseLight LIDAR-Lite V2 (Unboxing)

Who doesn't want to add lasers to their robot?

When RobotShop posted the call for reviewers of the PulseLight LIDAR-Lite V2 I knew that I needed to throw my hat in the ring. Looking over the specs found here https://www.robotshop.com/en/lidar-lite-2-laser-rangefinder-pulsedlight.html I could see that this was not your ordinary piece of hardware and adding to my existing OSIRIS project would be fun and seemed relatively straightforward. The main website (http://pulsedlight3d.com/) for PulseLight had plenty of documentation to assist with installation and coding and a Github repository (https://github.com/PulsedLight3D) had some downloadable files including some example code. In addition to the installation documentation and the sample code, the PulseLight website includes FAQs, data-sheets and access to a support ticket system for help with issues that the documentation doesn't address.

 

I was excited to see the little brown box on my doorstep when I got home from work and instantly began opening the package. Like most sensors meant for field/aerial robotics the LIDAR-Lite is small and light only weighing 28 grams with the wiring harness. In addition to the sensor and wiring harness, the package also included a resource card giving a small diagram for I2C wiring and website information. One concern I have is with the provided wiring harness that is used to connect the LIDAD-Lite to your microcontroller of choice. All of the wires are black except the red voltage wire and it is easy to see that I will need to pay close attention to the wiring during installation. I plan to also use small blank labels to help keep the wires in order during installation.

 

As mentioned before, the LIDAR-Lite allows for an I2C interface or if preferred, interface through pulse width modulation. When choosing a microcontroller make sure to select one that supports five volt logic. All of the information about the LIDAR-Lite’s performance can be found on the manufactures website (http://pulsedlight3d.com/) or at the RobotShop website (https://www.robotshop.com/en/lidar-lite-2-laser-rangefinder-pulsedlight.html). In addition to having the specifications, the RobotShop website has example code and a some PDFs to help you get started.

 

Stay tuned for the build and testing review. Alongside the LIDAR-Lite I purchased a Metro-Mini for control of the sensor on the Robot, a regular Arduno Mega for receiving the signal on my ground station and a small LCD screen for the readout. I will make sure to discuss any pitfalls I have when hooking up the LIDAR-Lite but based on all of the documentation I anticipate this to be a straightforward installation.

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I'm not sure I agree with the 5V logic. It needs 5V power but the onboard I2C pullup resistors appear to be 3.3V. I am having no problems with 3.3V interface logic.

I hope so, that would be sad if we couldn't use it with a Raspberry pi.

I'd like to see what is needed to generate a 3d map with this lidar :)

To generate a 3D map you have to get/build a pan and tilt kit and mount the lidar on it. Then scan a region from top left to bottom right (the range your pan/tilt kit supports).

From the pan and tilt angles and the distance measured by the lidar, you compute the point in 3D space for each measurement, and assemble all to a 3d point cloud (a list of 3d points).

You can continue processing the data further using frameworks like point cloud library.

 

Here is something close to this, but it creates a depth map instead of a real point cloud: http://myrobotlab.org/content/lidar-lite-distance-measurement-and-creating-point-cloud

For more projects you can see the project page of PulsedLight: http://pulsedlight3d.com/blogs/cool-stuff-page=1.html