As in any tech-centric industry, new techniques and technologies in machine vision and image processing often create enthusiasm that morphs readily into hype. The line between hype and efficacy lies in successful implementation. Vision Systems Design, throughout 2019, has chronicled the space where the hype behind new technologies ends and the tally of useful applications begins. Our recent Solutions in Vision 2020 global audience survey necessarily focused on some of the hottest vision technologies--deep learning, hyperspectral/multispectral imaging, polarization, embedded vision, 3D imaging, and computational imaging--who is using them now, and when vision professionals expect to be using them in the future. We also have been covering these technologies throughout the year, by way of demonstrating their current importance and understanding the directions in which they will continue to mature in the vision industry.
FREMONT, CA: Machine vision is one of the important additions to the manufacturing sector. It has provided automated inspection capabilities as part of QC procedures. Nevertheless, the world of automation is becoming more complex with time. With rapid developments in many different areas, such as imaging techniques, robot interfaces, CMOS sensors, machine and deep learning, embedded vision, data transmission standards, and image processing capabilities, vision technology can benefit the manufacturing industry at multiple different levels. New imaging techniques have brought new application opportunities.
Machine vision has come a long way from the simpler days of cameras attached to frame grabber boards--all arranged along an industrial production line. While the basic concepts are the same, emerging embedded systems technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), deep learning, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and cloud computing have all opened up new possibilities for machine vision system developers. To keep pace, companies that used to only focus on box-level machine vision systems are now moving toward AI-based edge computing systems that provide all the needed interfacing for machine vision, but also add new levels of compute performance to process imaging in real-time and over remote network configurations. AI IN MACHINE VISION ADLINK Technology appears to be moving in this direction of applying deep learning and AI to machine vision. The company has a number of products, listed "preliminary" at present, that provide AI machine vision solutions. These systems are designed to be "plug and play" (PnP) so that machine vision system developers can evolve their existing applications to AI-enablement right away with no need to replace existing hardware.
Imaging in three dimensions rather than two offers numerous advantages for machines working in the factories of the future by granting them a whole new perspective to view the world. Combined with embedded processing and deep learning, this new perspective could soon allow robots to navigate and work in factories autonomously by enabling them to detect and interact with objects, anticipate human movements and understand given gesture commands. Certain challenges must first be overcome to unlock this promising potential, however, such as ensuring standardisation across large sensing ecosystems and increasing widespread understanding of what 3D vision can do within industry. Three-dimensional imaging can be achieved by a variety of formats, each using different mechanics to capture depth information. Imaging firm Framos was recently announced as a supplier of Intel's RealSense stereovision technology, which uses two cameras and a special purpose ASIC processor to calculate a 3D point cloud from the data of the two perspectives.
In addition, IRIS-NoiseSweeper software has also been ported to the Tensilica Vision DSP to provide premium video quality and cleaner still-images. The software is targeted at image noise reduction for high-resolution still images. The technology features an automated noise profile estimation that reduces calibration needs and shortens development time. It operates in a single frame and eliminates any motion-blurring phenomena associated with multi-frame techniques. The Tensilica family of imaging/vision DSPs was designed for the complex algorithms in imaging, video and computer vision applications including innovative multi-frame image capture, video pre- and post-processing, object and face recognition, low-light enhancement and many other complex tasks.