Photonex show attracts newcomers

NOVEMBER 14--The recent Photonex 2001 exhibition (www.photonex.org; Stoneleigh, Warwick, England) included new sections on Imaging and on Fiber Science.

Nov 14th, 2001

NOVEMBER 14--The recent Photonex 2001 exhibition (www.photonex.org; Stoneleigh, Warwick, England) included new sections on Imaging and on Fiber Science. The UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA; Royston, Herts, England; www.ukiva.org) supported the event for the first time by presenting Focus on Imaging, with free workshops on the latest developments in industrial and scientific imaging and vision.

At the L.O.T.-Oriel (Leatherhead, England) booth, group sales manager Shayz Ikram described the Alpha NIR camera from Indigo Systems (Santa Barbara, CA, USA) as a miniature near-infrared camera that can run from 30 to 10,000 frames/s. He also said that the Peltier-cooled camera, stabilized at 20°C, is well suited for imaging the beam purity in laser-conducting optical fibers.

An interesting imaging application was the CertainTee (Birmingham, England) golf-swing analyzer. According to managing director Andrew Nicholson, the system can easily be adapted to the analysis of motion applications. Nicholson explains, "We use multiple video cameras grabbing images at speeds to 350 Hz, but typically 240 Hz gives good full-screen resolution to make sense of golf swings, which run from 100 to 140 miles per hour."

The Prior Scientific (Cambridge, England) booth included the ConnCert optical fiber-end inspection system. Prior has automated the inspection of optical-fiber ends. UK sales manager Paul Davis said, "With up to 6 million calls being transmitted simultaneously through an optical fiber, a 1- or 2-μm scratch or defect in the fiber could result in half a million engaged tones. Therefore, the fiber must be clean before it's joined."

Laser Physics England (Malpas, Cheshire, England) distributes the CamIR broadband CCD infrared camera from Applied Scintillation Technologies. According to John Proudlove, the CamIR uses a phosphor-based converter screen precharged with light-emitting diodes within the camera housing. The charge-up takes about 3 s. Then, the camera can image light sources operating from 1025 and 1700 nm. The long decay time of the camera allows minutes of visualization time from one charge.

A three-dimensional (3-D) stereoscopic imaging system that uses add-on modules to convert cameras, video cameras, displays, and computer monitors for stereo imaging was shown by Knight Optical Technologies Ltd. (Leatherhead, Surrey, England). It uses optical systems only with no additional electronics so that it will operate with all video and digital formats. Viewing devices used in the assembly or inspection of microelectronics systems can easily be converted to stereo operation. Other applications include stereo Internet multimedia, remote robotics in hazardous areas, machine vision, and remote surgical endoscopy.

Roper Scientific (Hemel Hempstead, Herts, England) announced Mako digital high-speed cameras. A CMOS sensor is used to achieve rates of up to 100,000 frames/s. These cameras are said to be compatible with endoscopes, microscopes, and other special imaging devices.

A FiberInspect machine-vision system for inspecting polished fiber ends was shown by Cognex England Ltd. (Milton Keynes, England). It automatically detects and measures scratches, cracks, and spots that are formed during the fiber-polishing process. It can detect defects smaller than 1 μm on the end of a fiber even when there is little image contrast between the defect and the background.

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