Off-the shelf products speed designs
Andy Wilson Editor
Integrating image-processing software with off-the-shelf hardware used to be a painful and laborious task. Systems developers were often forced to develop solutions using the hardware manufacturers low-level toolkits. Now, however, friendlier development tools and off-the shelf hardware are speeding the development of imaging systems. In this month`s Product Focus, contributing editor Rick Nelson examines a range of GUI software packages that run on a myriad of frame grabbers and image processors (see p. 36). With this software, systems integrators can more rapidly create image-processing systems and thus reduce their time to market.
Imaging workstations, too, are speeding the development of visualization systems, especially in medical applications. Indeed, surgeons have been performing neurosurgery with the aid of direct image guidance for a number of years. Now, as contributing editor Larry Brown reports, stereoscopy is adding a new dimension to medical procedures, allowing enhanced visualization of the patient`s cerebral structure, which is useful both during surgical planning and in the operating theater (see p. 18).
Contributing editor John Mayer looks at Radarsat, a satellite recently put into service by the Canadian Space Agency and NASA. Monitoring oceans in the Arctic region for ice floes and oil spills, Radarsat was designed to collect images in wide swaths and record objects with high spatial resolution. In his article, John discusses how data from the satellite are used to create stereoscopic maps for gas and mineral exploration and forest and agricultural management (see p. 22).
PC-based machine-vision systems are also finding their way onto the factory floor to perform in-line, production-inspection tasks. In his article beginning on p. 12, contributing editor John Haystead shows how a system incorporates custom-designed image-capture, image-processing, and I/O boards to interface and integrate multiple CCD-camera sites throughout a pharmaceutical facility.
Mathematical morphology is also used in industrial quality-inspection applications. In our Spotlight on Advanced Technology feature, Barry Phillips examines morphological techniques and looks at the future of three-dimensional morphology. Fast morphology libraries and unique image-processing operators are also discussed (see p. 30).