Imaging

Vision-Equipped Robots

FANUC Robotics America, Rochester Hills, MI, has introduced the LR Mate 200iC/5H, the M-430iA/2F, and the M-710iC robots equipped with iRVision® built-in robotic vision. The LR Mate 200iC/5H is designed for small-part assembly, the M-430iA/2F is a compact picking robot, and the M-710iC features a 3D laser vision sensor. The iRVision system is a ready-to-use robotic vision package that requires only a camera and cable - no additional processing hardware is required. The system features a 2D robot guidance tool to accomplish part location, error proofing, and other operations that normally require special sensors or custom fixtures. For robotic vision processes that exceed the capability of 2D vision systems, an integrated 3D vision system is available.

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Smart Cameras

National Instruments, Austin, TX, has introduced the NI 1744, NI 1762, and NI 1764 smart cameras for embedded machine vision applications. Powered by a 533-MHz PowerPC, the 1744 cameras feature a high-resolution image sensor that acquires images up to 1.3 megapixels. The 1762 cameras offer a 720-MHz TI DSP coprocessor with the PowerPC, making it possible to run algorithms with no changes to the application software. The 1762 contains a 640 × 480 resolution image sensor. The 1764 cameras feature the 1.3-megapixel image sensor and the TI DSP coprocessor for use in high-speed manufacturing line applications that are inspecting large objects or locating and identifying small codes or features.

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Machine Vision Software

PPT Vision, Eden Prairie, MN, has introduced IMPACTTM Software Suite Version 8.0 machine vision software. New features include the ability to drag and drop tools and controls, snap-to-grid alignment on the control panel canvas, and easy data linking between vision tools and controls. The IMPACT Vision Program Manager (VPM) features more than 120 tools, including OCR, blob analysis, circle gauge, circular pattern find, line find, sub-pixel gauging, and other vision tools that allow users to create vision programs. The VPM displays inspection data and pass/fail results with a built-in, preconfigured operator panel. The software also includes the Control Panel Manager (CPM), which allows users to create custom control panels with multiple image displays, data charts, and real-time inspection results with password-protected panels, frames, and tabs using more than 60 configurable controls.

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Infrared Radiation Detectors for Thermographic Imaging

Thermographic imaging is accomplished with a camera that converts infrared radiation (IR) into a visual image that depicts temperature variations across an object or scene. The main IR camera components are a lens, a detector in the form of a focal plane array (FPA), possibly a cooler for the detector, and the electronics and software for processing and displaying images (see Figure 1). Most detectors have a response curve that is narrower than the full IR range (900 to 14,000 nanometers or 0.9 to 14 μm). Therefore, a detector (or camera) must be selected that has the appropriate response for the IR range of a user’s application. In addition to wavelength response, other important detector characteristics include sensitivity, the ease of creating it as a focal plane array with micrometer-size pixels, and the degree of cooling required, if any.

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Real-Time Web-Based Image Distribution Using an Airborne GPS/Inertial Image Server

The use of geo-referenced imagery across the Internet is becoming prevalent thanks to the development of Web-based location servers such as Google Earth, TerraServer, and Yahoo Local. But users of these services are continually asking for more timely high-resolution data. Civil agencies such as firefighters, search and rescue teams, law enforcement, 911 emergency operations, border patrol operations, traffic monitoring systems, and geological survey crews — as well as the military — could benefit from a near-real-time, Web-based geospatial visualization capability.

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In-Camera GigE Board

Pleora Technologies, Ottawa, ON, Canada, has introduced the iPORT NTx-Mini in-camera IP Engine for Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) connectivity. It enables image streaming at the full GigE rate, and features a 42 × 42-mm form factor and 1.45 Watts of power consumption. It provides a main board that interfaces to optional AdaptRBoard or FlexE-Boards, or equivalents. The main board manages the conversion of imaging data to IP packets at the full 1 Gb/s data rate.

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Gigabit Ethernet Cameras

The uEye® Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) USB camera from IDS Imaging Development Systems, Cambridge, MA, is designed for machine vision and image processing applications. Cable lengths of up to 100 meters are possible. The cameras are equipped with a C-mount lens connector with adjustable mounting dimensions. A symmetrical housing allows mounting at 90/180 degrees without creating new holders.

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Wide-VGA Cameras

PixeLINK, Ottawa, ON, Canada, has introduced the PL-B761 monochrome and PL-B762 color wide-VGA cameras that feature a global shutter CMOS sensor providing 60 frames per second at a resolution of 752 × 480 pixels. The 1⁄3" optical format sensor has a 6.0 μm pixel pitch, and a 50 μs minimum exposure time. The sensor also features high quantum efficiency in the near infrared. Both models are available with a choice of FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, or USB 2.0 interfaces, eliminating the need for a frame grabber.

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Image Processing Software

The NI Vision Development Module from National Instruments, Austin, TX, consists of image processing and machine vision functions for various programming languages. It lets users enhance images, check for presence, locate features, identify objects, and measure parts. It includes NI Vision Assistant and NI Vision Acquisition software, and provides driver software for GigE Vision and IEEE 1394 cameras. The software is designed for engineers and designers developing machine vision and scientific imaging applications, and offers accuracy to 1/10 of a pixel and 1/10 of a degree.

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Thermal Imaging Camera

The M7816 Dual Vision thermal imaging camera from Mikron Infrared, Oakland, NJ, is designed for radiometric thermal imaging and features a 160 × 120 pixel resolution, 3.5" display, temperature ranges from -40 to 500°C, resolution of 0.1°C, and MikroSpec 4.0 software. The camera features the company’s Dual Vision capabilities, which allows it to be used with Mikron FusionTM and Mikron Blender® technology. It is also compatible with the company’s SpyGlass® lens and Viewport solution for inspection of energized electrical equipment located in switchgears and electrical panels.

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