GenICam and GigE Vision standards updated in committee meetings

MAY 21, 2008--The Czech subsidiary of Leutron Vision (Glattbrugg, Switzerland) hosted meetings of GenICam and GigE Vision standardization committees on April 7--10, 2008.

MAY 21, 2008--The Czech subsidiary of Leutron Vision (Glattbrugg, Switzerland; hosted meetings of GenICam and GigE Vision standardization committees on April 7--10, 2008. Leading technical representatives from the machine-vision industry met to discuss progress on these two customer-oriented industry standards.

"GenICam and GigE Vision fundamentally contribute to the evolution of our industry," says vice president of Leutron Vision Stefan Thommen. "Their implementation remains one of our top priorities."

The four-day session was a successful in drafting the GenICam Transport Layer (GenTL), which defines image and data transfers. Important improvements were also introduced in two GenICam modules: GenICam Application Programming Interface (GenApi) and Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC).

The GigE Vision committee discussed most of the open issues remaining in the new standard version, 1.1, which could be ratified in the second half of this year. Version 1.1 will bring significant improvements, while preserving backward compatibility with the original version 1.0.

GigE Vision is a standard developed through the Automated Imaging Association (AIA; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; for the development and accessibility of automated imaging technology to a larger audience. The goal is to define a protocol of communication between compliant Ethernet-based cameras and application host hardware.

In other words, GigE Vision transfers images from camera to computer. It means that someone can select a camera for an application without worrying about compatibility. This protocol has been developed on Gigabit Ethernet technology, but it will also apply seamlessly to 10-Gigabit Ethernet, making it an even more appealing interface for most vision applications.

GigE Vision brings a lot of functionality to compatible hardware. It provides device detection and network configuration through the Device Discovery component. Communication with compliant devices is done through the GigE Vision Control Protocol (GVCP) and image streaming with GigE Vision Streaming Protocol (GVSP). This last module offers transmission error recovery for maximum reliability. Finally, low-level parameters for all the standard features are set through the Bootstrap Registers. The flexibility behind the standard allows for maximum compatibility between cameras but also allows for the use of special features when needed, making it very attractive for manufacturers and users alike.

GenICam is a standard developed through the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA; It defines a universal application programming interface to receive images in a machine-vision application. GenICam is an abstraction of the ultimate camera interface. It allows software applications to receive images from a wide variety of devices such as GigE Vision, Camera Link, USB, and IIDC/DCAM.

"GenICam allows for real interoperability between hardware and software manufacturers," says Thommen. "It means that users get a wider range of products to accomplish the tasks of image generation/transfer and processing. It also means that highly specialized hardware companies like us can continue providing state of the art products without worrying about software compatibility."

GenICam consists of three modules: GenICam Application Programming Interface (GenApi), which describes how to define and interpret imaging devices features; Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC), which sets the list of features that an imaging device has (this is where the compatibility versus special features between hardware resides), and the new GenICam Transport Layer (GenTL), which defines image and data transfers independent of the technology used; it also allows enumeration and identification of the devices present in the system.

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