Imaging technologies display progress

Both new and old vision and imaging-system technologies are increasing their capabilities across a broad spectrum of diverse applications, as detailed in this month`s Vision Systems Design. At the leading-edge of the spectrum, researchers are exploring computed tomography, illumination and lighting, and holography. Concurrently, commercial- and scientific-system developers are refining the proven technologies of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) and cathode-ray-tube (CRT) monitors, respectively.

Imaging technologies display progress

George Kotelly Executive Editor

georgek@pennwell.com

Both new and old vision and imaging-system technologies are increasing their capabilities across a broad spectrum of diverse applications, as detailed in this month`s Vision Systems Design. At the leading-edge of the spectrum, researchers are exploring computed tomography, illumination and lighting, and holography. Concurrently, commercial- and scientific-system developers are refining the proven technologies of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) and cathode-ray-tube (CRT) monitors, respectively.

On the medical front, a renowned Massachusetts hospital has become a pacesetter in examining the benefits of functional imaging--obtaining both spatial and temporal information within a single image set. In this way, reports contributing editor John Haystead, medical imaging expands beyond just a diagnosis tool (see p. 14).

Increased demand for more reliable imaging during the inspection of small parts has stimulated research efforts in the field of illumination and lighting. One concept shift, as presented by contributing editor Lawrence Brown, deals with viewing the inspected part as an object in space based on its geometric properties, rather than on its x and y coordinates (see p. 20).

Harnessing the imaging potential of holography for data storage, neural networks, and displays has eluded researchers for decades. Recent technological advances, however, declares Dave Wilson on p. 36, are poised for accomplishment. For instance, researchers have developed holographic systems that have recorded and retrieved 6.5 million bytes without error.

Decades-old CRT and CCD technologies continue to hold their ground because suppliers are continually making improvements. For instance, CRT-monitor performance has been upgraded as a result of new test equipment. Contributing editor Randal Chinnock finds that instrument vendors are implementing the latest digital and photonic techniques into monitor-test equipment (see p. 28).

Similarly, CCD optical sensors continue to make inroads into specialized applications. Various high-resolution CCD products are being designed into photon-level-sensitive and fast-frame-rate imaging systems as described in the Product Focus by contributing editor Rick Nelson (see p. 42). He finds that CCDs are experiencing widespread implementation, but are still undergoing a challenge from CMOS active-pixel sensors.

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