Vision 20/20 flashback: Vision Systems Design in May 2004

May 26, 2016
In May of 2004, Andy wrote, among other articles, an editorial called "Chasing the pharmaceutical dragon," in which he suggested that putting barcodes on drug labels, or even barcodes on individual pills, is a good idea.

This year, Vision Systems Design celebrates its 20th anniversary. Throughout the year—as part of our Vision 20/20series we are going to encourage people to think about where the imaging and machine vision industry could be headed in the next20 years, while also taking a look back at the past 20 years.

In May of 2004, Andy wrote an editorial called "Chasing the pharmaceutical dragon," in which he suggested that putting barcodes on drug labels, or even barcodes on individual pills, is a good idea. This was written on the heels of the February 2004 announcement from Health and Human Services (HSS) Secretary Tommy Thompson, which said that the US Food and Drug Administration would require barcodes on labels of thousands of drugs to protect patients from preventable medication errors and reduce costs of health care.

At the time, Andy wrote that "Dividends for scanner manufacturers and barcode companies may, however, be years away." According to WincoID, he wrote, "the FDA's standard will not be issued until late this year and will not become effective until three years after it is finalized. Estimated implementation costs will be $50 million for pharmaceutical companies to add barcodes to packages and $7.2 billion for the health-care industry to implement barcode readers."

Andy’s editorial in this particular issue is precisely the reason why I thought it would be an interesting idea to look back and see what some of the big issues in the industry were at the time.

Elsewhere in the issue, the cover story described a vision-guided robotic system that inspected and assembled pregnancy test kits in a series of work cells. In the system, robots from Adept, as well as the ObjectFinder locator tool and an industrial camera from Panasonic Vision Systems were used to automate the production of the diagnostic test kits.

In addition to this article, Andy also wrote about food inspection, web inspection, timber inspection, PCI Express, infrared cameras, ultrasound and vision, imaging boards, and more.

In this issue’s new products section, Andy covered—among a number of other new products—a high-speed camera, a PC/104 board, CMOS and CCD cameras, and a FireWire camera.

Take a look at the May 2004 issue.

We will continue to highlight archived issues in the future, so keep an eye out for more “blast from the past” articles from Vision Systems Design.

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About the Author

James Carroll

Since joining the team 2013, James covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles for each issue of the magazine, James managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.


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