Perception is reality. Probably everyone has used the phrase at one time or another to describe how people react to or are influenced by other people or, perhaps, the media. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “Reality is only an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
In the electronics business, where marketing hype and obscure specifications are prevalent, the perception of a company, its products, and services is determined by a number of factors, including company leadership, product datasheets, Web sites, advertising, and marketing. Indeed, a company or product name can change people’s perception of what the company offers.
To the outsider, even the name of the world’s largest machine-vision trade show, held in Stuttgart, Germany, November 7-9, may seem confusing-no, VISION 2006 will not discuss products and services or feature exhibitors who make optical eyeglasses. And, despite the numerous press releases describing such products that have been sent to me, neither willVision Systems Design.
DOORS OF PERCEPTION
As Bruce Batchelor of the School of Computer Science at Cardiff University in Wales clearly states, “Machine vision is concerned with the engineering of integrated mechanical-optical-electronic-software systems for examining natural objects and materials, human artifacts, and manufacturing processes. It is used to detect defects and improve quality, operating efficiency, and the safety of both products and processes. It is also used to control machines used in manufacturing.”
Vision Systems Design builds on this definition to encompass closely related technologies such as image processing and nonvisible imaging. In this issue, for example, a feature article examines how multispectral cameras are combining both infrared and visible imaging to solve a number of military, medical, and food-inspection applications. An article in our Technology Trends section shows how novel algorithms are being used to evaluate image quality.
In addition, the application of machine vision is rapidly expanding to areas not associated with manufacturing. This trend will be on display at VISION 2006, which has placed a special emphasis in its technical program on nonindustrial applications such as intelligent transportation. And both the Automated Imaging Association and the European Machine Vision Association have stressed the importance of nonindustrial machine vision.
Beginning next year,Vision Systems Design will devote a special series of articles to these applications. Entitled “Spotlight on Market Opportunities,” the series will show how today’s technologies and products are addressing the requirements of many types of nonindustrial machine-vision systems. These articles will provide a cross-fertilization of the ideas already found in image processing and machine-vision systems and will provide designers and system integrators with an added level of information. With these articles, we hope to dispel any illusions that Vision Systems Design is about mere “machine vision.”