Imaging

CMOS Cameras

SMARTEK Vision (New London, CT) offers the “twenty-nine” series of CMOS machine-vision cameras. Distributed by FRAMOS Technologies (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), the 29 x 29- mm camera line fits GigE Vision and USB3 Vision with a high-speed sensor front-end into a miniature housing. Pixel sizes range from 5.86 μm and 3.45 μm down to 1.25 μm; sensor formats range from 1/2" to 1/3". The camera connects with C-Mount, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), and general-purpose IOs (GPIO) via a 6-pin Hirose component.

Posted in: Products, Cameras, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Motorized Actuators

A new series of low-cost DC drive motors from Siskiyou Corporation (Grants Pass, OR) enables precise, hands-free adjustment of translation stages and mirror mounts, using a simple, push-button control pad. Specifically, the new 500 series actuators can replace manual screw and micrometer adjusters on Siskiyou’s crossed roller bearing linear stages, kinematic mirror mounts, and IS OGP beam steering assembly for microscopes. The hand-held controller for operating these actuators offers two preset drive speeds (0.3 mm/s and 0.1 mm/second), as well as an adjustable low speed range (from 10 μm/s to 30 μm/s). The latter enables consistent, small moves (down to 1.0 μm) with a single, short button press.

Posted in: Products, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Photonics

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Smart Cameras Get Smarter

How Actionable Data Drives Today’s Imaging Technology Cameras are the eyes of the modern world. The devices equip today’s cars and machines, and real-time imaging capabilities support law enforcement, businesses, and homeowners. Thus far, cameras have been just that: simple cameras, eyes without a brain. Their sole purpose has been, primarily, to output images. Nowadays, however, cameras are “smarter.” In this article, we will review how imaging technology’s ability to intelligently process data will support new insights and applications.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics

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Delivering Industrial Reliability in Scientific Lasers

Industrial-strength design and production methodologies improve the quality and productivity of scientific lasers. Scientific laser users have long relied on state-of-the-art performance (e.g., higher peak power, shorter pulse duration, wider wavelength tuning) to achieve groundbreaking results. Unfortunately, this high performance has often been emphasized at the expense of ease-of-use and reliability. Recently, however, this paradigm has dramatically changed, and some of the latest scientific lasers — including complex ultrafast amplifiers — now deliver both cutting-edge performance and exceptional reliability. This advance is sometimes referred to as “The Industrial Revolution in Ultrafast Science.”

Posted in: Articles, Features, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics

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Machine Vision System Measures ‘Drops’ in Citrus Grove Health

A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has developed a machine vision system to measure the quantity of a citrus grove’s dropped and decayed oranges. The fallen fruit provides an indication of a so-far incurable disease that has been spreading through Florida’s trees since its first appearance in the state in 2005.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, Imaging, Photonics

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3D Imaging Laser System

The system achieves high-resolution, real-time, three-dimensional imaging using an innovative single lens system. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a non-scanning, 3D imaging laser system that uses a simple lens system to simultaneously generate a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array of optical (light) spots to illuminate an object, surface, or image to generate a topographic profile.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging

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Smart Image Enhancement Process

Applications include improving pilot vision, real-time digital enhancement of videos, medical imaging, and thermal and night vision for surveillance systems. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an automatic measurement and control method for smart image enhancement. Pilots, doctors, and photographers will benefit from this innovation that offers a new approach to image processing. Initial advantages will be seen in improved medical imaging and nighttime photography. Standard image enhancement software is unable to improve poor quality conditions such as low light, poor clarity, and fog-like conditions. The technology consists of a set of comprehensive methods that performs well across a wide range of conditions encountered in arbitrary images. Conditions include large variations in lighting, scene characteristics, and atmospheric (or underwater) turbidity variations. NASA is seeking market insights on commercialization of this new technology, and welcomes interest from potential producers, users, and licensees.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging

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Compact Thermal Neutron Imaging System Using Axisymmetric Focusing Mirrors

This technology uses grazing incidence reflective optics to produce focused beams of neutrons from commercially available sources. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed novel neutron grazing incidence optics for use with small-scale portable neutron generators. The technology was developed to enable the use of commercially available neutron generators for applications requiring high flux densities, including high-performance imaging and analysis. Nested grazing incidence mirror optics, with high collection efficiency, are used to produce divergent, parallel, or convergent neutron beams. Ray tracing simulations of the system (with source-object separation of 10 m for 5 meV neutrons) show nearly an order of magnitude neutron flux increase on a 1-mm-diameter object. The technology is a result of joint development efforts between NASA and MIT researchers seeking to maximize neutron flux from diffuse sources for imaging and testing applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging

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High-Speed Edge-Detecting Circuit for Use with Linear Image Sensor

Applications include supersonic jets, manufacturing, lane line tracking for vehicle control, bar code scanners, and digital photography. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio A new smart camera developed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center has the ability to process and transmit valuable edge location data for the images that it captures — at a rate of over 900 frames per second. The camera was designed to operate as a component in an inlet shock detection system for supersonic jets. A supersonic jet cannot function properly unless the airflow entering the machine is compressed and slowed to subsonic speed in the inlet before it reaches the engine. When supersonic air is compressed, it forms shock waves that can destroy the turbofan and surrounding components unless they are pinpointed and adjusted. This smart camera uses an edge detection signal processing circuit to determine the exact location of shock waves, and sends the location information via an onboard microcontroller or external digital interface. This highly customizable camera’s ability to quickly identify precise location data makes it ideal for a variety of other applications where high-speed edge detection is needed.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging

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Two- and Three-Dimensional Near-Infrared Subcutaneous Structure Imager Using Adaptive Nonlinear Video Processing

The battery-powered system uses off-the-shelf near-infrared technology that is not affected by melanin content, and can also operate in dark environments. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have successfully developed a novel subcutaneous structure imager for locating veins in challenging patient populations, such as juvenile, elderly, dark-skinned, or obese patients. Spurred initially by the needs of pediatric sickle-cell anemia patients in Africa, Glenn’s groundbreaking system includes a camera-processor-display apparatus and uses an innovative image-processing method to provide two- or three-dimensional, high-contrast visualization of veins or other vasculature structures. In addition to assisting practitioners to find veins in challenging populations, this system can also help novice healthcare workers locate veins for procedures such as needle insertion or excision. Compared to other state-of-the-art solutions, the imager is inexpensive, compact, and very portable, so it can be used in remote third-world areas, emergency response situations, or military battlefields.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging

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