Getting the right image is hard

Feb. 4, 2020

As I write this, Christmas is one week away, and at the risk of sounding cliché, 2019 sped past in a blur. Personally there was much to be thankful for, starting with the year’s highlight, which came early in January when we welcomed our second son Brandon into the world. By the time this issue is published, Brandon will be 1, and our older son Jacob will be almost 4. The older I get, the faster time seems to pass.

I bring up my boys again because a recent experience we had with holiday pictures relates to a fundamental principle of machine vision: Getting the right image can be hard. Anyone with children or those around them enough can tell you that getting children to sit still long enough and look at the camera to take a nice picture is often a Herculean task. In fact, when dealing with an endlessly-curious and busy 10-month-old and a charismatic four-year-old who fancies himself an entertainer, getting them both to do any single one thing is near impossible. (Just look at this picture of the boys, along with my wife Laura and me as proof.)

In machine vision and imaging, obtaining the right image is key to accomplishing tasks, whether it’s for inspection, analysis, guidance, detection, and the like. This issue highlights several disparate applications and technologies, all of which require the right image (or images). For example, in our cover story article on page 13, a drone equipped with a multispectral and RGB camera captures images used to create maps that help farmers decide how much seed to put down and where they should put it. Without capturing the right images here, a seed company could waste time and effort when it comes to seeding their fields, which leads to profit and productivity loss.

Another good example is on page 15. This article looks at the next generation of higher-resolution image sensors and the task of choosing the correct optics to pair with them. Without finding the right lenses to use with these new sensors, obtaining high-quality images becomes impossible, rendering a machine vision or image processing system essentially useless.

I also wanted to bring to your attention a new article series we’ve introduced in this issue called Machine Vision Essentials (Page 20). Inspired by our webcasts, these articles dive into a technology or application with an aim of providing as much vital information on them as possible.

Looking toward the rest of 2020, we will continue to serve your information needs to our absolute maximum capacity, while introducing new ideas and topics as they arise. I hope to keep this both useful and fun throughout the year and look forward to doing so. Happy New Year!

About the Author

James Carroll

Since joining the team 2013, James covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles for each issue of the magazine, James managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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