Standards shine at Vision Show West

Nov. 22, 2002
At this year's Vision Show West, held November 19--21, 2002, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, end users, OEMs, and system integrators met manufacturers of vision systems, cameras, frame grabbers, lighting equipment, lenses, image processors, optical filters, processing accelerators, I/O devices, peripherals, motion control devices, and software.

(For contact information on companies mentioned in this review, see the Vision Systems Design Buyers Guide (Feb. 2002)or the Image Processing Europe Buyers Guide (March/April).

At this year's Vision Show West, held November 19--21, 2002, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, end users, OEMs, and system integrators met manufacturers of vision systems, cameras, frame grabbers, lighting equipment, lenses, image processors, optical filters, processing accelerators, I/O devices, peripherals, motion control devices, and software. Sponsored by the Automated Imaging Association (a href=>, the Vision Show West was home to more than 100 companies and featured the latest in machine-vision technology. During the tutorials and conference sessions, speakers presented techniques for lighting and optics for machine-vision applications, algorithms, smart sensor technology, and PC-based vision systems.

Conformance to standards
One of the main thrusts of camera exhibitors on the trade-show floor was adherence to standards, most notably the Camera Link standard. Camera Link is a camera-to-frame-grabber interface specification based on an implementation of National Semiconductor's ( Link technology (see the Vision Systems Design Camera Link Special Report, May 2002). The specification was developed through an initiative headed by Pulnix America. Camera Link defines a single connector for both the frame grabber and the camera.

Other Camera Link camera vendors included Adimec (, which showed a 50-frame/s Megapixel camera and the AVIIVA LVDS camera from Atmel (, which features a linear CCD with 1024, 2048, or 4096 resolution with 10-μm square pixels, 512, 1024, or 2048 resolution with 14-µm square pixels.

Dalsa ( also showed a Camera Link camera, the Dalstar 1M75SA CMOS area camera, an addition to its Stop Action (SA) family. The camera features 1M-pixel resolution and a 75-frame/s rate. Like the 1M28-SA released earlier this year, the 1M75 features a Linlog sensor that increases intrascene dynamic range up to 120 dB.

IO Industries ( also announced support for Dalsa's P2-42-8k camera with its DVR Express camera interface board. The camera has dual Camera Link base outputs and can be recorded to hard disk at full speed from two DVR Express camera interface boards. Full speed recording is achieved at a line rate of 18 kHz and a resolution of 8192 pixels.

Imperx ( chose the show to announce two new Camera Link products. The first, a video capture adapter, is a stand-alone unit that allows LVDS (RS644) base cameras to be interfaced to Camera Link frame grabbers and vive versa. The second, a Camera Link camera, features a 1004 x 1004 progressive-scan CCD imager, 45-frame/s rate, and a 40-MHz data clock output.

At the JAI ( booth, the company demonstrated its CV-M7 color and CV-M4 monochrome megapixel cameras. Designated the CV-M4+ and CV-M7+, the cameras feature JAI's serial interface protocol, based on short ASCII commands, and LVDS or Camera Link interfaces. The cameras provide 1392 x 1040 resolution and use CDS techniques to achieve double-speed readout. The company also announced an intelligent camera family called ThinkEye that was developed in conjunction with Stemmer Imaging (Munich, Germany) and Asentics (Siegen, Germany). The first member of the product family, the TE-100, is a PowerPC-based camera with a resolution of 659 x 494, a in-built Web browser, and Stemmer's Common Vision Blox software.

Through a European partnership with Tokyo Electronic Industry Co. Ltd. (, NET USA ( also offers cameras with remote heads and OEM board cameras. The company's latest product is the CSB4000CL--a CMOS B/W Camera using a CMOS image sensor. The camera features a global shutter, WOI, and Camera Link interface and weighs 200 g.

At the Pixel Devices International ( booth, the company featured its Owl linescan camera, which features 2048-bit resolution and uses a Camera Link output to output 14-bit pixels at data rates of 100M pixels per second.

The Pulnix ( PC-640CL camera also uses a CMOS imager. Designed with global shutter and a Camera Link digital interface, camera gain, shutter, and subsampling can be controlled through the Camera Link interface.

Grabbing at Camera Link
To interface to these Camera Link cameras, many vendors offer Camera Link frame grabbers. Active Silicon's Phoenix ( frame grabbers, for example, support the 64-bit, 66-MHz PCI bus and are available in Camera Link and LVDS versions. Phoenix supports both the 64-bit, 66-MHz PCI bus and the 32-bit, 33-MHz PCI bus and offers a burst rate of 533 Mbytes/s. Phoenix supports asynchronous capture from two independent digital cameras and is compatible with Win98/NT/2000/XP, Mac OS X, Linux, VxWorks, and Solaris OSs.

The booth of Advanced Digital Vision ( showed the Picasso digital frame grabber from Arvoo. The frame grabber provides interfaces for LVDS, Camera Link, IEEE-1394, SMPTE 259M-C, and the company's opticlink frame grabber with fiber input.

Coreco Imaging's X64-CL Series (!OpenDocumen) is also a line of Camera Link frame grabbers for the PCI 64 bus for asynchronous image acquisition from multiple cameras. These frame grabbers are built around an ACU-Plus (acquisition control unit) and the DTE (an intelligent data-transfer engine). The company also announced an analog frame grabber for the 32-bit PCI bus dubbed PC2-Vision. With an on-board triple-channel ADC, the board can accommodate up to six monochrome or two RGB cameras.

The Datacube ( booth featured the MaxRevolution for PCI bus developed for image acquisition from Camera Link-compatible digital linescan or area-scan cameras. With support for up to eight camera taps each running at up to 85 MHz, the board can gather digital data at 680 Mpixels/s.

Epix's PIXCI CL3SD ( frame grabber and Basler's A504k ( camera capture images with 1280 x 1024 resolution at 500 frames/s. Windowing allows reduced resolutions at rates up to 16,000 frames/s. The PIXCI CL3SD frame grabber, for the 32-bit PCI bus, operates in a Pentium 3 or 4. Image sequences are captured in up to 4 Gbytes of on-board synchronous DRAM and after capture can be transferred to computer memory or to another PCI bus target.

Euresys' latest frame grabber, announced at the show, is the Domino Iota, an entry-level frame grabber for a single-tap monochrome analog camera. Capable of supporting cameras with resolution of 1300 x 1300, the frame grabber features pixel clock and PLL locking and TTL I/O lines.

To support linescan cameras for surface-inspection applications, i2S Line Scan ( announced its Flaw Scan, a stand-alone unit that contains an embedded processor for acquisition and processing of Web images. Each unit provides Ethernet output of selected defect information based on user-configurable blob and morphological parameters. The company also announced a daughtercard for its Horizon linescan acquisition boards called the Flaw Extractor Plus that supports linescan cameras from Dalsa, Atmel, Basler, and PerkinElmer.

Integral Technologies ( also showed its FlashBus Prism, a frame grabber that uses the Philips ( TriMedia video processor and 16-Mbyte SDRAM frame buffer to provide smooth interpolated scaling, hardware overlay, video rotation, and video output functionality. The company also showed its latest high-level programming library, Integral IVL, which provides a library of core machine-vision and image-processing routines.

Originally launched at Semicon West 2002, Matrox Imaging's Odyssey Xpro ( and Odyssey XCL vision processors integrate off-the-shelf and custom technologies in a PC. The Odyssey Xpro features the Motorola G4 PowerPC ( embedded microprocessor, running at 1 GHz. The PowerPC, combined with Matrox's Oasis processing and router ASIC, delivers more than 130 BOPS. The single-slot Odyssey Xpro also offers over 5 GBytes/s of memory bandwidth, up to 1 GBytes of DDR SDRAM memory and up to 2 Gbytes/s of external I/O bandwidth. At the Vision show, the company also announced its Helios family, a PCI-X based frame grabber family that includes versions with CameraLink and analog interfaces and the company's Oasis ASIC.

Capturing data from digital frame and linescan sources, including multitap configuration, the XSYS ( frame grabber from PLDApplications ( supports monochrome and RGB images and features from one to four camera channel inputs. Developers can choose from a Quad Gigalink fiberoptic, RS422 or LVDS, or full Camera Link interface.

Software, too
Software also played a key role in the products being demonstrated at the show.

To add vision to its line of robotics products, Adept is offering its AdeptVision sAVI Guidance option that adds vision inspection and/or vision guidance to any AdeptSix robot, Adept SmartModules, or Adept SmartMotion system. Interfacing motion and vision can be performed since the vision instructions are integrated into V+ and AIM MotionWare.

Supporting its FastSeries family of frame grabbers and accelerated frame grabbers, Alacron's FastSeries Object Imaging Library (FOIL) offers an image and vector-processing library for the TriMedia, AltiVec and x86 processors. The library is a collection of templates and optimized routines for image and vector processing in C++.

BitFlow ( demonstrated its R64-CL Camera Link frame-grabber board with the Dalsa Pirahna2, four-tap linescan Camera Link camera. With each channel running at 40 MHz, the total output data rate of this camera-board combination into host memory is 160 Mbytes/s. The board features a 64-bit/66-MHz PCI bus interface; dual Base, Medium, or Full configuration Camera Link interfacing; the company's FlowThru architecture for real-time acquisition and data transfer with no latency or CPU usage; multiple user-programmable I/O options; and a Software Development Kit. Also shown was the R3-PMC-CL PCI mezzanine card board, which features a Base configuration Camera Link interface, FlowThru architecture, multiple I/O options, and support for most Camera Link cameras. For new software, the company operated its Image Warp image-analysis software on the company's R3-PCI-CL camera interface and various Camera Link cameras from Basler, Perkin Elmer, Pulnix, and SVS Vistek. This universal image editing, processing, and analysis software package combines a graphic development environment, image analysis toolset, programming development techniques, and compatibility with the company's entire product line via an intelligent driver. It allows real-time processing and display of live video.

At its booth, Data Translation ( announced the DT3145, a PCI-based Camera Link frame grabber that can be used with DT Vision Foundry 3.5, its image-processing, measurement, analysis, and data-transfer tools to create production-ready inspection programs and customized vision tools. DT Vision Foundry features include a 2-D data-matrix tool that analyzes 2-D barcodes in 360° rotation, even if images are distorted, blurred, or water damaged, with processing speeds between 2 and 9 ms.

Also developed for gauging applications, EasyGauge from Euresys ( relies on subpixel edge detection and least-squares fitting algorithms to determine position, orientation, curvature, and size of manufactured parts. EasyGauge supports adjustment of parallel sides, providing a means of measuring thickness of flat or bent objects and corner location.

MVTec ( announced that Halcon 6.0 now supports the GINGA++ frame grabber from LinX and the MaxRevolution from Datacube.

And, National Instruments ( announced Vision Builder for Automated Inspection, software that allows production test engineers to create complete machine-vision applications in a development environment that integrates image acquisition, machine-vision inspection, decision making, and I/O control into a manufacturing test application.

Lighting the way
Lighting and illumination was also featured at this year's Vision Show West. Advanced Illumination ( introduced a 100-mm axial diffuse illuminator that is available in visible and IR wavelengths, as well as an RGB version.

CCS America ( introduced its HLV and HLV-NR LED spotlights designed to replace halogen lighting in machine-vision applications. The HLV-27 is the first offering of a product family that features a spotlight weighing 50 grams; it can be inserted into a coaxial lens body tube. CCS also has plans to release additional LED fiber ringlights.

Edmund Industrial Optics ( added to its line of LED illumination products with a range of diffuse lights, diffuse axial lights, ringlights, spotlights, line lights, and several products designed to provide backlighting and darkfield illumination. The RGB option allows the intensity of the red, green, and blue LEDs to be individually controlled.

For photometric and radiometric calibrations and as a standard for verifying the performance of solid-state light sources, photodiodes, imaging systems, and CCD/CMOS sensors and cameras, Gamma Scientific ( highlighted a color-tunable digital light source system. Called the RS-5M, the system provides CCD manufacturers, material engineers, sensor designers, or light source designers with a standard to verify the quality and consistency of the products they purchase or design in-house.

Mitsubishi International ( showed its plastic-optical-fiber illumination technology used in machine-vision and image-processing systems and a fiber cable system that allows a flat-panel monitor to be located 500 m from a CPU.

Schott-Fostec ( also showed its range of custom and standard fiberoptic illumination components that include ringlights, backlights, and LED light-heads, including the SC-2100--an intelligent LED controller that allows user control of light heads for stabilized light output.

Volpi Manufacturing USA ( showed its range of LED and fiberoptic illumination products that include linear LED backlights, LED dome ringlights and camera lenses.

The HP-20 series of halogen gooseneck lights from Waldmann Lighting ( offers a flexible 16- gooseneck and a universal base, which gives the option of horizontal or vertical mounting. A plug-in transformer included with all 120-V versions allows for convenient plug-in. The company also offers an IP65 waterproof model for environments where liquids are present.

In other news . . .
American Vision Technologies ( showed industrial image-processing systems from HGV VOSSELER GmbH at its booth.

Canon USA ( featured its line of CCTV C- and CS-mount lenses with zoom and fixed focal lengths developed for machine-vision and factory-automation applications.

The CCTV Division of CBC America ( showed its line of CCTV lenses for factory automation. These include the MegaPixel MLM-3XMP, a lens that offers 3.3 magnification for Megapixel CCD cameras.

Cohu Electronics ( featured its 1200 Series alignment imager/reader camera designed for component alignment and placement, test and inspection, and OCR. The CCD used is a 768 x 494 monochrome sensor, and the miniature lens is customized to the customer's specific application.

The Eastman Kodak Image Sensor Solutions Division ( showed an integrated 1/2-in. megapixel CMOS image sensor. Features include integrated timing, control, and analog signal processing, and a 10-bit ADC. Each pixel on the sensor is individually addressable, allowing the user to control WOI panning and zooming, subsampling, resolution, exposure, and gain via a two-pin I2C interface.

Elite Engineering ( explained the smart detector array, an optical detector solution for systems integrators. The self-contained system includes analog circuitry, ADC, and DSP algorithms for measuring optical input.

FillFactory ( has started production of a 4M-pixel CMOS image sensor for the CSB4000CL CMOS B/W camera offered by Tokyo Electronic Industry Company. The custom chip designed by FillFactory allows global synchronous shutter, WOI readout, and multislope nonlinear exposure for an extended dynamic range. This chip will not be offered by FillFactory as a standard product, but the company's 1.3M-pixel IBIS5 standard sensor is similar in functionality.

FLIR Systems ( demonstrated its E-Series line of thermography cameras that resemble a flashlight in appearance, weigh 1.5 lb, and feature a built-in color display, battery, temperature measurement, and image storage. The images can be downloaded to a computer through a USB port and are small enough to wear on a belt.

Products from Goyo Optical Japan ( include CCTV, industrial, scanner, micro, and macro lenses.

Hamamatsu ( showed the ORCA-HR, a 4000 x 2624 digital camera that uses an interline CCD chip with no mechanical shutter. In addition to its 10M-pixel resolution, a dynamic range of 12-bits allows the camera to be used for low-light-level applications.

Among the color cameras on hand from the Industrial Video Systems Division of Hitachi Denshi America ( were the CCD HV-D30, the KP-D20A/B DSP camera, and the HV-D27 three-CCD remote-head color camera. The HV-D30 is a three-CCD color camera featuring a DSP with 12-bit A/D conversion and a digital encoder. Designed for use in medical, microscopy, teleconference, and machine-vision markets, the camera features a field-on-demand mode to capture images at a precise time. An on-screen menu system provides access for making changes to the operational characteristics of the camera, and the use of application files allows the cameras operational status to be saved and recalled at a later date. A color corrector allows adjustment of the color rendition of the camera.

Ipd, the intelligent products division of Coreco Imaging (, announced forthcoming vision appliances, machine-vision software, vision systems, and intelligent cameras. The first of these, dubbed iGuage, is a remote camera head coupled with an intelligent remote frame grabber/processor targeted at optical measurement applications, including point positions, lines, angles, hole diameter, and roundness. With a very easy-to-use point-and-click interface, the product is targeted at simple gauging applications that need to be set up very rapidly.

Ircon's ( latest offering, the Scan IR II, meets NEMA 12K and IP52 standards, and uses Microsoft Windows NT along with SpotMaster and ZoneMaster software to provide 2-D or 3-D color thermal displays to plant-floor operators in the steel, glass, plastic, paper, and textile industries. The Scan IR II offers temperature measurements ranging from 100°F to 4000%#176;F, depending on the model. For each 90° scan, the fastest ScanIR II model measures temperatures across a moving target at 100 Hz, taking 500 measurements per scan. The 50-Hz model makes 1000 measurements per scan, and the 10-Hz model makes 5000 measurements per scan.

With the DX 10-1394a, Kappa ( introduced a digital color camera for industrial applications based on the IEEE 1394 transfer technology. The camera is especially suitable for industrial endoscopy and image processing and complies with 1394a - 2000. The digitized image data are transferred via the 1394 interface. Thus, all camera parameters can be controlled via the universal high-speed bus that can transfer 30 frames/s at 640 x 480 resolution. The DX 10 1394a is equipped with two six-pin 1394 ports and allows up to 15 cameras to be connected in sequence.

Leutrek Vision ( showed backlights from Phlox ( that feature standard backlight dimensions of 2 x 2 in., 4 x 4 in., and 8 x 8 in. with a luminance greater than 10,000 cd/m², 8000 cd/m², and 4500 cd/m², respectively. These backlights included a large RGB LED edge-lit unit that allows acquiring color information with a B/W camera, a linelight for linescan applications, and a very thin (5-mm) unit. The company also showed a family of PicPort-Pro-CL and PicProdigy-CL frame grabbers that accept Camera Link inputs, work with a 64-bit/66-MHz PCI bus interface, provide a choice of CL maximum clock capabilities, and operate with a selection of on-board hardware processing. Also displayed was the LVmPC embedded vision system with a modular micro PC based on a Pentium III 933-MHz or Celeron CPU; a choice of analog, digital, IEEE 1394a, or Camera Link frame grabbers; and standard and nonstandard cameras.

Linos Photonics ( showed its range of telecentric lenses, 1/3-in. lenses, C-mount lenses, and 90°right angle lenses.

Max Levy Autograph ( showed its range of grid and dot arrays, magnifiers and comparators, microscopes, reticles, gray-scale targets, MTF targets, Ronchi rulings, and fluorescent targets.

Melles Griot added a section to its Web site: ( At the site, instruction manuals and demonstration software for most of the alignment, positioning, and beam-profiling instruments are now available for download. Customers can test instrumentation software.

Metaphase Technologies' ( line of LED-based lighting was also on display. These include area backlights, linear backlights, thin backlights, diffuse axial lights, near-axis ringlights, off-axis ringlights (darkfield), multidirectional concentric ringlights with selectable segments, area front lights, linear front lights, round area lights, linelights, diffuse dome lights, diffuse tube and dark-field lights, and solid-state white lights. While larger semiconductor wafers with more complex circuit stencils might be marked with data matrix, the older wafers typically remain marked with BC-412 barcodes until they are phased out.

Microscan Systems' ( Quadrus EZ makes the transition period a lot smoother. Since Quadrus EZ can read both code types with the same unit with the same settings, two separate readers--one for each code type--are not needed. This makes processing the data from two separate codes a lot simpler. As an additional benefit, no downtime is accrued by using one reader. Quadrus EZ can read both codes interchangeably without requiring reconfiguration in-between product runs.

Microview Technologies ( used the show to add two models of progressive-scan CMOS cameras to its product lineup. The Wisecam is a 1280 x 1024-pixel, 30-frame/s Camera Link-based camera that features an asynchronous reset and variable exposure setting from 174 μs to 32 ms. The Lilliput is a 659 x 494, 180 frame/s camera that can use AOI windowing to achieve frame rates of 500 frames/s or more.

Moritex's ( fiberoptic-illumination and optical-lensing systems for machine-vision applications include the MHF-H50LR--a 50-W remote-controllable light source. The unit is supplied with 0- to 5-V analog remote-control capability and features a 2000-hour lamp life. Nano-Or's ( 3DScope comprising an optical imaging system, a CCD camera, and supporting algorithms, offers quantitative metrology and wavefront analysis accurate to within several nanometers. 3Dscope uses an interferometric approach that measures a variety of materials and provides nano-metric resolution along the z-axis. 3DScope can use any FOV and lateral resolution used by conventional imaging optics.

Narraganset Imaging ( offers 10- and 12-bit CCD camera modules with resolutions ranging from 1 to 11M pixels and speeds of between 2 and 22 frames/s. At the show, the company highlighted its ITC1612D/15 digital CCD camera module that contains an interline-transfer 2M-pixel CCD and features 12-bit per pixel output and a Camera Link interface.

Photon Vision Systems ( used the show to announce a 1.3M-pixel IEEE 1394 OEM imaging module that integrates a 1.3M-pixel CMOS image sensor with an FPGA-based processing and interface board. According to the company, the on-board FPGA can be programmed to perform a variety of image-processing tasks in real time, eliminating the need for a host CPU in some applications. Additional programmability can be accomplished through the IEEE 1394 interface, which integrates a CPU and additional memory.

Photron's ( APX features 17.5-μm pixels, antiblooming, and megapixel resolution, providing full resolution up to 2000 frames/s and reduced resolution to 100,000 frames/s. The APX is supplied with a 20-ft cable or with the optional 52-ft camera cable, or as a single-piece unit with the camera and processor combined into one compact housing.

Scorpion from Point Grey Research ( is a boxed FireWire camera that produces 1280 x 1024 images at 30 frames/s using the VCA1281M from Symagery. The Scorpion supports four types of general-purpose I/O. The external trigger output synchronizes the image with an external event. The shutter start output allows synchronization of external events at the start of image acquisition (such as strobe or flash) and general digital I/O for communication with external devices.

Impact from PPT Vision ( is a machine-vision microsystem that features digital cameras and lighting components. With an on-board processor running Inspection Builder software, the system can be customized for inspection tasks. In addition, Impact's Ethernet connectivity allows for networked data collection, analysis, and remote monitoring.

Redlake MASD ( introduced a new, high-speed Camera Link
digital camera--the Megaplus ES 1020. This megapixel camera offers a 48-frame/s rate in a compact package. Armed with Kodak CCD technology, the ES 1020 accommodates a multitude of color and monochrome vision applications, including semiconductor and electronics inspection, microscopy, and particle image velocimetry.

Schneider Optics ( highlighted its OEM and video CCD lenses that can be used from visible through near-IR applications.

Sine Patterns ( supplies sinusoidal patterns as photographic images for moiré contouring to MTF evaluation of materials, lenses, cameras, and electro-optical systems. To complement the company's continuous-tone targets, Sine Patterns has added traditional resolution targets and a variety of current imaging standards.

Sony Visual Imaging's XC-555 ( is a 1/2-in. type IT CCD color camera suited for machine vision and remote monitoring. Its design eliminates the need for a CCU, allowing the XC-555 camera to be installed in space-restricted areas.

StockerYale's ( IL series of industrial fluorescent linear lighting fixtures was also announced at the show. Designed for use in harsh industrial environments, the fixtures are available in 4-, 6-, 8-, and 13-W lamp configurations and can accept a number of standard window options including diffusers, UV windows, polarizers, and filters to meet a number of application requirements.

Tamron USA ( showed a range of lenses for machine vision and CCTV optics.

A color video board camera dubbed Panther was on show at Videology ( The single 42-mm square board delivers 490 TVL resolution and has H and V lock, SVHS, and YUV in either digital or analog output modes. It is I2C controllable, adjusts through a gain range, and features a push-to-set white-balance function for unusual lighting conditions.

As the first smart cameras, the VC2028 and the VC2038 from Vision Components ( ship with company's Version 5 OS, a multitasking operating system that can execute several functions in parallel using 1-ms time slices.

Professional analog and digital products from Sony, NEC, Panasonic, JVC, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, and Pinnacle were to be found at the booth of VMI (, a Sony Visual Imaging Products Distributor.

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