Earlier this year, a handful of companies chaired by Toshi Hori, president of JAI Pulnix (Sunnyvale, CA, USA; www.pulnix.com), formed a working committee devoted to developing a standardized version of Gigabit Ethernet for imaging applications. "To allow the standard to develop rapidly, we decided to start off with a small group of diverse companies, then open it up to others after some progress had been made," says Hori.
At the first meeting, held at the International Robots and Vision Show in Chicago, IL, last June, George Chamberlain, president of Pleora Technologies (Kanata, Ontario, Canada; www.pleora.com) supplied a two-page outline of a proposed standard to companies such as Dalsa (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; www.dalsa.com), Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany; www.baslerweb.com), Atmel (San Jose, CA, USA; www.atmel.com), Stemmer Imaging (Puchheim, Germany; www.stemmer-imaging.de). During the Chicago meeting, subcommittees were formed to develop software standards (headed by Rupert Steltz of Stemmer), hardware standards (headed by Mark Butler of Dalsa), and a formal Gigabit Ethernet imaging protocol (headed by Alain Rivard of Pleora). "To develop a Gigabit Ethernet standard for machine vision," says Chamberlain, "we have taken a subset of the Pleora implementation, with a focus on delivering the flexibility needed to support a range of performance requirements."
At VISION 2003 (Stuttgart, Germany; October 2003), members of the Gigabit Ethernet committee once again convened for an update of the standard. At a meeting attended by other interested parties, such as Matrox (Dorval, QC, Canada; www.matrox.com), the committee reviewed a number of features designed to speed and simplify the implementation of Gigabit Ethernet systems. These included an interface between application software and supported cameras, a minimum set of registers that cameras must support, proprietary features for more specialized cameras, and an open communications protocol.
As one committee member observed, some reference implementation is required to ensure compatibility between cameras, interface boards, and computers. Subcommittee members have agreed to develop a first draft by February 2004. The committee expects to have a working standard by May. For information, contact Toshi Hori at [email protected].