Consumer imaging technologies like DSLR and smartphone cameras are smaller, cheaper, and easier to use than in the past, and as a result, in the hands of more people than ever before.
For example, my four-year-old son Jacob recently grabbed my iPhone off the table, swiped it open, and had himself a little photo session. He even brought props, and took a picture of his little brother, Brandon (1). I put a few highlights below. Neither my wife Laura or I ever taught him how to use the camera on the iPhone or use the phone at all. He just figured it out on his own. To be fair, he was able to do this because ultimately it isn’t very hard, and kids today just seem inherently adept at technology. Apple has designed a very user friendly, intuitive device. I doubt that at my son’s age, I would have been able to figure out whatever camera my parents were using in the late 1980s.
In machine vision, circumstances are quite similar, which has led to machine vision technology being deployed in increasingly more disparate applications around the world. This issue of the magazine serves as a good example. In it, we cover applications including maple syrup bottle inspection, augmented reality glasses designed for remote technical support, a deep learning-based system that tracks penguin populations, and a system that uses deep learning to detect distracted drivers.
Our Snapshot articles touch on 3D imaging research for space exploration, a system that measures cardiopulmonary data from animals, and a traffic control algorithm that uses an overhead intersection camera and deep learning to improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, we have articles on deep learning on embedded devices, real-time image dehazing, and LED lighting for hyperspectral imaging applications.
All these articles describe systems, research, or trends involve the use of machine vision and imaging components. To develop a vision system of any kind involves the specification of such products, which are available from companies all over the world. So much so that it can be difficult to know where to start. Our 2020 Buyers Guide, also published in this issue, provides a useful resource that lists hundreds of companies in more than 100 product categories—including industrial cameras, optics, lighting, system boards, automation equipment, and software.
Our annual guide contains five sections including products, a system integrator location listing, a distributor location listing, a company directory, and a product category index. In publishing this, we hope that the resources you find within it—and on our website—will help you keep up with the ever-changing nature of the machine vision space.