Novel imaging techniques break through barriers

In their ongoing assault on imaging-technology limits, researchers and system integrators are developing machine-vision and imaging technologies to gain heretofore-unobtainable results. Innovative imaging technology has enabled Canadian university researchers to relate bond-rupture forces to molecular chemistry and structure for the first time. Their computer-driven CCD-based imaging system works with a robotic microscope controller in the study of receptor-ligand bonds, which govern the fundame

Feb 1st, 1999

Novel imaging techniques break through barriers

George Kotelly Executive Editor

georgek@pennwell.com

In their ongoing assault on imaging-technology limits, researchers and system integrators are developing machine-vision and imaging technologies to gain heretofore-unobtainable results. Innovative imaging technology has enabled Canadian university researchers to relate bond-rupture forces to molecular chemistry and structure for the first time. Their computer-driven CCD-based imaging system works with a robotic microscope controller in the study of receptor-ligand bonds, which govern the fundamental activity of living cells. Says contributing editor Larry Curran, research results have provided insights into chemical kinetics that have not been previously accomplished (see p. 21).

Until now, a high-speed web-inspection system was a challenging machine-vision-system-design exercise. However, by astute system integration, one such system is detecting surface defects on steel sheets rolling at several hundred feet per minute in a harsh processing-plant environment, reports contributing editor R. Winn Hardin. This real-time, host-based imaging system comprises defect libraries generated from the production line, hierarchical detection processing schemes, and rugged commercial products (see p. 27).

Because of the increasing density of silicon chips, semiconductor vendors are now incorporating video-broadcast compression standards, such as MPEG-2, into their application-specific integrated circuits. Accordingly, as spotlighted by editor at large Andy Wilson, compression products that previously used proprietary, wavelet, or JPEG methods are changing to MPEG-2. Moreover, many vendors are delivering MPEG-encoders as single- or multiple-chip solutions to reduce the amount of information in intraframe, predicted, and bi-directional picture types to suit different application requirements (see p. 35).

Although several suppliers are offering new monitors capable of displaying 2048 x 2560 pixels, resolution is just one of several parameters that system integrators must evaluate when selecting a high-end display subsystem. In complex medical imaging applications, brightness, contrast, and refresh rate represent other key monitor considerations. To properly combine a monitor and a graphics-card controller, system integrators must focus on such operational factors as bandwidth, look-up-table design, software, and calibration support, says Andy Wilson (see p. 43).

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