Arduino Distance Meter

Measure distance using Sharp sensor

Arduino Distance Meter

This page explains how to measure distance using a Sharp Sensor and Arduino UNO, and send the data via Bluetooth. The RoboRemo interface on the phone is configured to display the raw ADC value and the distance in cm.

Materials needed:
- Arduino UNO (or similar) + USB cable for it
- DC adapter for Arduino
- BlueSMiRF module
- Sharp IR Distance sensor
- wires
- Android phone with RoboRemo app installed
- object to measure the distance to (empty box)
- ruler to verify measurement and calibrate


The Sharp distance sensor is based on Infrared light. It shines an IR beam on the object in front of it and measures the reflected amount. These sensors are popular in robotics applications like line follower enhanced (to detect an obstacle and avoid it) or maze robot (to detect and measure distance to walls). There are multiple versions of this sensor, according to the measurement range. The sensor I use in this project has a range of 4cm to 30cm. I calibrated the Arduino code for this sensor. The data in calib[] array are the raw ADC data. Arduino calculates the distance using linear interpolation between these data points.



Upload the code to your Arduino:

// Measure distance with a Sharp IR sensor
// send the value via Bluetooth to RoboRemo app

// Hardware setup:

// BlueSMiRF   Arduino
// GND ------- GND
// VCC ------- 5V
// TX-O ------ RX
// RX-I ------ TX
#define bluetooth Serial

// Sharp       Arduino
// GND ------- GND
// VCC ------- 5V
// out ------- pinA0
int sharpPin = A0;

//             4cm  5cm  6cm  7cm  8cm  9cm  10cm 11cm 12cm 13cm 14cm 15cm
int calib[] = {562, 476, 405, 349, 310, 276, 248, 224, 205, 190, 178, 166};
int minDist = 40; // mm

int distance(int adcVal) {  // returns distance in mm
  int calibLen = sizeof(calib)/2;
  int res = 0;
  if(adcVal>calib[0]) return 0; // if dist < minDist
  if(adcVal<calib[calibLen-1]) return minDist + (calibLen-1)*10; // (max)
  for(int i=0; i<calibLen-1; i++) {
    int a = calib[i];
    int b = calib[i+1];
    int distA = minDist + i*10;
    int distB = minDist + (i+1)*10;
    if(adcVal<=a && adcVal>=b)
      res = map(adcVal, b, a, distB, distA);
  return res;

char cmd[100];
int cmdIndex;

void exeCmd() {
  //if(strcmp(cmd, "some cmd")==0) doSomething();

void setup() {
  delay(500); // wait for BlueSMiRF to start

  bluetooth.begin(115200); // BlueSMiRF default baud is 115200
  pinMode(sharpPin, INPUT);
  cmdIndex = 0;

void loop() {
  if(bluetooth.available()) {
    char c = (char);
    if(c=='\n') {
      cmd[cmdIndex] = 0;
      exeCmd();  // execute the command
      cmdIndex = 0; // reset the cmdIndex
    } else {      
      cmd[cmdIndex] = c;
      if(cmdIndex<99) cmdIndex++;
  // 32-sample average, to elliminate noise:
  int sharpADC = 0;
  for(int i=0; i<32; i++) {
    sharpADC += analogRead(sharpPin);
  sharpADC = sharpADC / 32;
  String st = (String)"raw " + sharpADC + "\n";
  st = st + "dist " + distance(sharpADC) + "\n";

In this example we use Hardware Serial. But Arduino UNO also uses Hardware Serial for programming, so when you program the Arduino, you need to disconnect the Bluetooth module, and to run the circuit, you need to disconnect the USB cable and connect the Arduino DC power supply.

Connect the Bluetooth module and Sharp sensor to Arduino, according to the hardware setup in the Arduino sketch.

Connect your Arduino to the DC power supply.

Download the RoboRemo interface file:


Copy the interface file to your Android device, then import in RoboRemo using menu -> interface -> import.

Enjoy :)

Improve interface by adding plot