NOVEMBER 22--The IEEE 1394 (FireWire) interface made a strong showing in October with a significant new audio-video automotive demonstration at the Convergence 2004 Show in Detroit and as the interface of choice for a broad range of industrial automation products at the VISION 2004 Show in Stuttgart. At Convergence 2004, Texas Instruments displayed a 1394b wired passenger car cockpit showing the transport of three simultaneous video streams, a navigation display, and access to an Apple iPOD. It included three displays, one for the front seat and two for backseat passengers. It included as sources an Apple iPOD, a DVD player, a Sony Playstation 2, a live video camera and for an example diagnostic station a DAP 1394b analyzer displayed on a laptop computer. Rear switches allow the selection of the video streams for the rear seat displays, while a touch screen in the front seat allows selection of the DVD, PS2 display, iPOD, or uncompressed video camera for viewing on the front display.
Also at Convergence, Sumitomo showed a concept demo of the uses of high speed 1394 to implement driver aids using high speed cameras. It included Sumitomo plastic optical fiber transceivers, TI's 1394b physical layer devices, Mitsubishi Rayon POF cabling, and a Unibrain camera. Delphi Automotive showed its latest automotive grade 1394 connectors and cables.
1394 a Leader in Industrial Automation
VISION 2004 brings together leaders in industrial automation throughout the European Union and elsewhere, and features the latest in machine vision and identification technologies. Four vendors exhibited new IEEE 1394b-equipped systems. These included Sony, with a large booth that featured the company's new 1394b-equipped IIDC camera. Also prominent were Point Grey Research, with their own new IIDC camera, and Allied Vision Technologies, showing hubs, PCI cards, CardBus cards, GOF hubs, Cat5 hubs, and cables. Allied indicated that a 1394b-enabled camera is coming sometime in 2005. Also Fraunhofer IPMS, a leader of the 1394automation Group, showed a prototype of a 1394b IIDC camera, as well as optical repeaters for industrial installations. All of the new cameras used the 6-pin or 9-pin 1394 socket.
Also at VISION 2004, Basler Vision Technologies, one of the leaders of the 1394automation Group, showed its 1394a cameras and also displayed products in other vendors' booths around the VISION show floor; National Instruments demonstrated its controller box with 1394a, which manages other vendors' IIDC cameras and also controls automation/robotic devices over 1394; MaxxVision, which shared a booth with Sony, featured eight models of Sony IIDC cameras, four Camera Link cameras, and various specialty cameras. Other participants included
PixeLINK, which demonstrated IIDC cameras up to 6.6 Mpixels;
PHYTEC, a new maker of IIDC cameras, introduced its initial 1394a-based camera, which includes two ports for daisy-chaining;
Strampe, which makes a control box to control IIDC cameras over 1394, like National Instruments, and uses 1394 for IIDC;
NeuroCheck, which sells Windows software for machine vision using IIDC and also resells and rebrands IIDC cameras manufactured by leading vendors;
Baumer Optronic, which now has 15 models of 1394-equipped cameras, many of which were at the show;
Matrox, which demonstrated its popular Matrox Imaging Library MIL that supports image grabbing from IIDC compliant cameras;
Fraunhofer IMS, which showed its specialty (high sensitivity, high speed) CMOS optics with 1394-enabled IIDC cameras built around them;
Hamamatsu, which showed various IIDC cameras, as did Hitachi;
F.A. Systems Engineering from Japan, which demonstrated 1394 components such as 1394a cameras and hubs;
Pentacon, which showed a high-resolution digital still image camera with up to 8192 x 12000 pixels per image that is mainly used for applications like PCB inspection. It uses 1394 and the SBP-2 protocol for data transfer.
For more information about 1394 or the 1394 Trade Association, please visit www.1394ta.org.