IR software gets graphical support

While developers who want to add IR imaging capability are still required to use camera-vendor-supplied image-processing software, embedding such into machine-vision systems is becoming easier.

Jun 1st, 2006
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Andrew Wilson, Editor, andyw@pennwell.com

While developers who want to add IR imaging capability are still required to use camera-vendor-supplied image-processing software, embedding such into machine-vision systems is becoming easier. In part, this is due to the number of different software packages and software development kits (SDKs) from camera and third-party software vendors. But perhaps the main reason is the recognition that to quickly develop such systems, integrators need easy-to-understand graphical programming interfaces with which to develop their systems.

Recognizing this, vendors such as FLIR Systems (Billerica, MA, USA; www.flirthermography.com), Cedip Infrared Systems (Croissy Beaubourg, France; www.cedip-infrared.com), Sensors Unlimited, Goodrich Corp. (Princeton, NJ, USA; www.sensorsinc.com), and Winsoft (Santa Ana, CA, USA; www.winsoft.com) have now made their software packages compatible with third-party packages such as LabView from National Instruments (NI; Austin, TX, USA, www.ni.com). Because of this, developers familiar with NI’s graphical development environment can acquire, process, and display both still and live infrared images with easy-to-use graphical toolsets.

FLIR’s ThermoVision LabView SDK, for example, allows machine-vision applications to be developed with FLIR IR cameras within NI’s LabView/IMAQ programming environment. The digital toolkit interfaces to NI’s PCI/PXI-1422 and PCI-1424 frame grabbers and also allows reading and writing of FLIR’s proprietary image file formats. Like FLIR, Cedip also provides a set of LabView-compatible image-acquisition and analysis subroutines and DLLs that provide users of its infrared cameras with acquisition, processing, and display of still images and video. Using the toolkit, camera functions such as integration time, frame rate, and triggering conditions can all be configured in LabView.


Using ThermaVU software, developers of LabView-based machine- vision systems can configure IR cameras that perform motion detection and thermal signature analysis and display the result in a single PC window.
Click here to enlarge image

Support for NI’s PCI-1422 and PCI-1428 Camera Link frame grabber is also available with Goodrich’s SUI image-analysis software. Provided free-of-charge for demonstrating the company’s camera products, the LabView-compatible software can display single, continuous, averaged images or capture multiple sequences in AVI movie file format. Image-enhancement features include histogram equalization and region-of-interest measurement tools such as line profile and spot meters.

Unlike FLIR, Cedip, and Sensors Unlimited, however, Winsoft does not manufacture IR cameras. Instead, for its ThermaVU SDK, the company provides support for IR cameras in general, with specific features designed for cameras from Opgal Optronic (Karmiel, Israel; www.opgal.com). The company’s latest version of the software package supports a number of programming languages including C++, Visual Basic, and LabView. Offering acquisition, camera control, thermal/motion analysis, and features such as histogram. Multi-ROI and measurement tools, ThermaVU allows the developer to combine motion detection and thermal profiling of IR images within a single user interface.

Recently, the company demonstrated the SDK capabilities using an EyeM320 320 × 240 camera from Opgal coupled to NI’s 1424 frame grabber. In this LabView demonstration, the IR images are DMA’ed into system memory, processed, and displayed on the user-interface (see figure). According to Ehud Shany, president and CEO, providing real-time motion detection and thermal profiling is especially useful in surveillance and industrial applications, where specific events must be triggered and analyzed based on a combination of movement and temperature.

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