Vision and imaging cover diverse uses

Machine-vision and image-processing systems have performed successfully as inspection and data-manipulation tools. They can now identify colored fuses prior to automobile installation, confirm criminal forensics information, process VMEbus gigabyte data, and hyperspectrally map the Earth.

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Machine-vision and image-processing systems have performed successfully as inspection and data-manipulation tools. They can now identify colored fuses prior to automobile installation, confirm criminal forensics information, process VMEbus gigabyte data, and hyperspectrally map the Earth.

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The automotive industry was an early adopter of gray-scale machine-vision systems as cost-effective inspection tools to eliminate rework, improve quality, and prevent user liability. Now, recently developed color-based machine-vision systems have greatly expanded auto-product verification and identification. In one color application, says Mike Muehlemann, president of Illumination Technologies Inc., auto fuse-block assemblies are being checked for proper value and placement prior to chassis wiring (see p. 19).

Digital image-processing systems are providing vital evidence in investigative forensics. They process fingerprints, mug shots, background information, and crime scenes. According to contributing editor Larry Curran, a county sheriff's office has integrated dual PCs, cameras, scanners, and printers to meet diverse law-enforcement vision and imaging needs (see p. 27).

To increase the speed of signal- and image-processing algorithms, NASA is studying reconfigurable computing systems as low-cost methods to improve performance over general-purpose CPUs and DSPs. According to editor at large Andrew Wilson, academic researchers are developing compiler technology that can automatically map signal- and image-processing algorithms to configurable computing environments (see p. 33).

Despite the emergence of new bus technologies, the 20-year-old VMEbus technology continues to remain competitive. In fact, the latest VME boards can provide image-acquisition, storage, processing, and display functions on a single, one-slot VME card. Andy Wilson discusses how boards from several vendors have boosted the original 40-Mbyte/s VME data transfer protocol to rates greater than 1 Gbyte/s (see p. 39).

George Kotelly Executive Editor
georgek@pennwell.com

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