Improve your price/performance ratio

At sea, in hospitals, and on the factory floor, vision-systems designers must deliver the optimum solution at the lowest cost. Price/performance trade-offs often hinge on processing power, which is in turn related to system bandwidth and I/O capability. Often, as is evident in this issue of Vision Systems Design, image processing throughput is the first topic that must be addressed.

Improve your price/performance ratio

Andy Wilson Editor

andyw@pennwell.com

At sea, in hospitals, and on the factory floor, vision-systems designers must deliver the optimum solution at the lowest cost. Price/performance trade-offs often hinge on processing power, which is in turn related to system bandwidth and I/O capability. Often, as is evident in this issue of Vision Systems Design, image processing throughput is the first topic that must be addressed.

To accommodate the throughput required in the design of a simulated virtual island, the US Navy used VME-based parallel digital signal processors (DSPs; see p. 24). Because hydrophone data were digitized into DSPs over a 32-bit local bus, system processing and I/O throughput increased dramatically.

On the factory floor, OEMs are also contending with video bandwidth limitations. But by using systems that integrate sensors, digitizers, and processors, system cost and video bandwidth can be reduced. Such a system from DVT is shown in action on p. 20.

Often, however, digital systems can be overtaxed by the intense number of computations required. Frequently, multiple CPUs must be used in parallel resulting in increased expense. By performing such operations optically, as described in this month`s Spotlight on Advanced Technology (p. 28), vision systems can often outpace their digital counterparts in pattern-recognition applications.

In developing such high-performance vision systems, graphical image-processing software packages have not been of much help. Often, they are too slow to handle many vision-systems applications. But with the advent of RISC microprocessors and sophisticated DSPs, a new class of software is appearing that combines visual programming environments with pipelined hardware support. In this month`s Product Focus feature, Shari Worthington describes these latest off-the-shelf packages (p. 34).

Finally, on page 14, Peter Steven of Dome Imaging Systems shows how calibration techniques are improving the consistency of medical displays.

In the design of your next vision system, it is highly likely that you will face systems processing, bandwidth, and I/O trade-offs. As processors increase in speed and bus architectures change, your trade-offs will alter. In this and every issue of Vision Systems Design, we will keep you abreast of these changing technologies and help lower the price/performance ratio of your next system.

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