Vision Insider Blog

UAV roundup 4/24: The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle news

Apr 24, 2015

Read all about the latest developments in the world of UAVs, including a new, expedited approval process from the FAA, and the latest on Amazon's plans for a UAV-based delivery service.

Surveillance cameras play increased role for Boston Marathon security

Apr 20, 2015

Learn more about the additional security measures that are being taken for the Boston Maraton, including the installation of approximately 100 HD surveillance cameras along the route of the race.

Robot sous-chef makes crab bisque, automates the kitchen

Apr 14, 2015

Read about London-based Moley Robotics' robotic “sous-chef,” which was on display at this year’s Hannover Messe trade fair, where it was seen making crab bisque, according to BBC News.

 

Slideshow: 2015 Innovators Awards honoree reception

Mar 30, 2015 To celebrate our first annual Innovators Awards program, Vision Systems Design held a reception at the AIA’s Automate trade show and conference in Chicago, IL, USA on March 25, 2015, where many representatives from companies at the show were on hand to accept their awards from Andrew Wilson, Edit...

UAV roundup 3/27: The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle news

Mar 27, 2015

Since the last “UAV roundup” we did in February, 27 new companies have been granted a Section 333 exemption to operate UAVs, for a range of different applications, including real estate, agriculture, inspection, and motion picture and television.

 

Vision System Design announces 2015 Innovators Awards honorees

Mar 25, 2015 Developed to celebrate the disparate and innovative technologies, products, and systems found in the machine vision and image processing industry, the 2015 Innovators Awards were reviewed by an expert panel of ten third-party judges who were asked to rate the numerous entries that we received bas...

UAV roundup 2/27: The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle news

Feb 27, 2015 February saw no shortage of news when it came to UAVs in the United States. In fact, it was quite the eventful month, headlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally proposing a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small UAVs in today’s aviation system, ...

UAV roundup 2/9: The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle news

Feb 9, 2015

With so many headlines related to UAVs coming out as late, I’ve decided to do another version of the "UAV Roundup."

UAV roundup 1/30: The latest in unmanned aerial vehicle news

Jan 30, 2015

Instead of blogging about each and every one of these items separately, I thought I would compile them into one big “roundup,” providing some of the latest headlines in the world of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Seeing through the Blizzard of 2015

Jan 27, 2015 As I sit here writing this article from the comfort of my own home; I am doing so not out of convenience, but out of necessity. For those of you who do not live in the northeast portion of the United States, in case you haven’t heard, we are in the midst of what many meteorologists predicted to b...

Live updates from the 2015 A3 Business Forum

Jan 22, 2015 Once again, we will be providing live updates from the A3 Business Forum, which brings together top executives from the machine vision, robotics, and motion control industries including manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, research groups, universities, and consultin...

FAA grants additional exemptions for commercial UAVs

Jan 9, 2015

Last summer, the FAA granted permission for BP and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer AeroVironment to fly the first commercial UAV to fly over land for the purposes of aerial surveys over Alaska’s North Slope.
 

UAV lands on water, captures underwater footage

Jan 2, 2015

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called the HexH2o is capable of landing on a body of water and capturing underwater footage.
 

Student builds a camera inside a Lego

Dec 4, 2014 Much of what we cover on Vision Systems Design is rather technical, or at least serious in nature. From time to time on the blog, I like to take a look at off-beat, fun, or interesting bits of news, such as sharks eating cameras attached to robots, or the innovative use of a digital cinema camera...

FAA granted authority to fine UAV operators

Nov 19, 2014 This past March, I wrote about the case of Raphael Pirker, a 29-year-old who used an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to film a commercial at the University of Virginia. In this case, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) filed a case against Pirker for flying a drone commercially.  

VISION 2014 thoughts and takeaways

Nov 10, 2014 To articulately summarize my entire VISION experience would require an extensive amount of writing and reflection. Throughout the course of the next few weeks, I do, in fact, intend to provide summaries of the interviews I had with the 20-some-odd international vision companies on the show floor....

Crime fighting with Google Glass

Oct 7, 2014

Earlier this summer, we reported that The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS were adapting its SHORE real-time face detection and analysis software for the Google Glass.
 

Innovative music video made with a Kinect and modified digital cinema camera

Sep 29, 2014

San Francisco-based ambient music artist Tycho released a music video for the song "See" from the 2014 album “Awake" that makes clever use of a Microsoft Kinect and a modified RED Epic camera.
 

FAA approves commercial use of UAVs for filmmaking

Sep 26, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued just its second approval of commercial UAV flights, with six permits being given to film and television production companies for the purpose of aerial video capture.
 

Nova Scotia RCMP UAV

Canadian police use UAV to find family lost in forest

Sep 10, 2014 Two months ago in July, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia unveiled a new fleet of vision-enabled UAVs for purposes that include crash scene investigation, search and rescue, and emergency response. A few months later, one of these UAVs successfully located two adults and their 17-m...

UAVs to patrol for illegal poachers in Africa

Sep 5, 2014 Having recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, AREND (Aircraft for Rhino and Environmental Defense)—an international non-profit group—is set to deploy vision-guided unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in order to detect illegal poaching in Africa’s national parks.  

Latest FAA UAV test site now up and running

Aug 21, 2014

The FAA has opened its fifth of six test sites that will be used for flight testing and detect-and-avoid technology for UAVs in order to better prepare for safe integration of UAVs into national airspace and learn more about the benefits the vehicles can have on agricultural research.

Great white shark attacks autonomous tracking robot on camera

Aug 6, 2014 Last summer, we wrote about a vision-enabled autonomous underwater vehicle developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Oceanographic Systems Laboratory that is designed to track and capture up-close footage of a great white shark off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts for a Discovery ...

Commercial UAV pilots arrested for flying in Manhattan

Aug 1, 2014 If you’ve been keeping track of the state of commercial UAVs and their usage, you know that the FAA recently gave BP and UAV manufacturer AeroVironment permission to fly the first commercial UAV to fly over land for the purposes of aerial surveys over Alaska’s North Slope. While this is most defi...

More computer vision technology for pets

Jul 25, 2014

Not long ago, I wrote about an app called PetMatch that uses computer vision algorithms for image recognition purposes that enables a user to find a dream pet or find a lookalike to a previous pet, all in their area.

 

 

Build your own supercomputer

By Andy Wilson
Many image processing tasks are computationally intensive. As such, system integrators are always on the lookout for any means that will help them to accelerate their application software.

One way to do this is to determine whether an application could be optimized -- either by hand or by using optimization tools such as Vector Fabrics' (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) Pareon -- to enable it to take advantage of the many processing cores that are in the latest microprocessors from AMD and Intel.

If an application can be considered to be easily separated into a number of parallel tasks -- such as those known in the industry as "embarrassingly parallel problems" -- then the only limitation the systems integrator has is how to source enough inexpensive processors to perform the task.

Fortunately, since the advent of the GPU, cores are plentiful. As such, many engineers are harnessing the power of games engines such as GE Force’s GTX 470 -- which sports no less than 448 CUDA cores and 1GByte of memory -- to vastly accelerate their image processing applications .

Now in a few cases where engineers really need to harness even more hardware power, they have only one alternative -- build it themselves. That, indeed, is exactly what engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory (Rome, NY, USA) have done.

Their massive supercomputer -- which was developed for the Air Force for image processing tasks -- is ranked as one of the fortieth fastest computers in the world. Yet, believe it or not, it has been constructed by wiring together no less than 1,700 off-the-shelf PlayStation 3 gaming consoles !


Now if you are anything like me, you are probably wondering how you might be able to design such a beast yourself, while doing so without shelling out an inordinate sum of money to buy so many Sony games consoles.

If you do, you might like to check out the web page of Professor Simon Cox from the University of Southampton (Southampton, UK), who, together with a team of computer scientists at the university (and his six year old son James) has built a supercomputer out of Raspberry Pi's , a rats nest of cables and an awful lot of Lego.

"As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image," says Professor Cox.

The machine, named "Iridis-Pi" after the university's Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13A mains socket and uses a Message Passing Interface to enable the processing nodes to communicate over Ethernet. The system has a total of 64 processors and 1Tb of memory (16GByte SD cards for each Raspberry Pi).

Now I'm not about to claim that this supercomputer is going to rank up there with the PlayStation-based system built for the US Air Force, but it certainly would be a fun project to build and experiment on. And at a price of under $4000, who wouldn't want to give it a go?

Fortunately, for those interested in doing so, the learned Professor has published a step-by-step guide so you can build your own supercomputer Raspberry Pi supercomputer without too much effort.

The Southampton team wants to see the low-cost supercomputer used to enable students to tackle complex engineering and scientific challenges. Maybe the system isn't really the most cost effective way to do that, but it certainly is inspirational.

Editor's note:  PA Consulting Group and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have teamed up to challenge schoolchildren, students and computer programmers to develop a useful application using a Raspberry Pi that will make the world a better place. I'm sure they would welcome ideas from the imaging community! Details on the competition can be found here .