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Parallax's PING Ultrasonic Sensor provides a very low-cost and easy method of distance measurement. This sensor is perfect for any number of applications that require you to perform measurements between moving or stationary objects. This ultrasonic distance sensor is widely used in robotics applications and is also useful in security systems or as an infrared replacement.
The PING sensor measures distance using sonar; an ultrasonic (well above human hearing) pulse is transmitted from the unit and distance-to-target is determined by measuring the time required for the echo to return. Output from the PING sensor is a variable-width pulse that corresponds to the distance to the target.