New century heralds new vision

At the turn of the century, say many technical researchers, a host of new voice, video, image, and data products and applications are projected to flood the global village. In the areas of machine-vision and imaging technologies, however, several product and application advancements are already available or will be during the next few years.

Nov 1st, 1997

New century heralds new vision

George Kotelly, Executive Editor

georgek@pennwell.com

At the turn of the century, say many technical researchers, a host of new voice, video, image, and data products and applications are projected to flood the global village. In the areas of machine-vision and imaging technologies, however, several product and application advancements are already available or will be during the next few years.

To keep its roadways operational well into the next millennium, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, says contributing editor Larry Brown, is photologging its highways to establish an integrated system of video, data, and images for road inspection, maintenance, and repair (see p. 18). Installed in converted vans that are driven over the state`s highways, automated visual inspection systems are generating video, ultrasound, and laser-based information on the roads` slope, roughness, and pavement characteristics.

The worldwide market for cathode-ray tubes, claims Brian Fedrow of Stanford Resources, an electronic-display-industry market-research firm, is estimated to grow past $34.4 million in sales by 2003, compared to $26.2 billion in 1997 (see p. 24). This strong growth comes mainly from sales of color televisions and desktop-computer monitors.

According to contributing editor John Haystead, the US military, in preparing its strategies for the next millennium, is building a new Geospatial Information Infrastructure (see p. 26). Its goal is to compile and integrate geospatial data sets, imagery, and development tools from a range of sources for availability over common and secure networks.

Shortly after the start of the millennium, very-high-density all-optical memory systems are expected to store terabytes of data thanks to emerging holographic, polymer, and photon technologies. To meet the database demands of hospitals, law firms, government agencies, and libraries, cites contributing editor Richard Parker, researchers are making inroads in reading and writing information faster, and on smaller media (see p. 36).

The latest image-analysis and machine-vision software packages are already enabling developers to apply improved development and run-time functions to many applications. These packages, explains contributing editor Rick Nelson, simplify application development, speed real-time production-line imaging operations, and derive meaningful features from raw imaging data. Moreover, the software is keeping pace with the new faster and more powerful processors (see p. 42).

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