Vision and imaging dissect problems

Vision and imaging systems are steadily meeting increased demands for inspecting and displaying parts for diverse applications.

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Vision and imaging systems are steadily meeting increased demands for inspecting and displaying parts for diverse applications. These systems are finding immediate acceptance in the industrial, medical, and military fields because they are solving problems quickly, inexpensively, reliably, and accurately. Current vision and imaging systems are handling dental training, display of diverse radar video signals, inspection of automotive axle and switch assemblies, and use of Intel's multimedia instructions to accelerate image-processing functions.

Dental operations rely on the skill, training, and experience of the dentist. To assist dental students in achieving these attributes, an imaging simulation system now enables them to practice on a mannequin. As described by contributing editor Joe Hallett, this imaging system allows students to "drill" into the space occupied by a computer-generated three-dimensional image of a tooth (see p. 20).

In addition to the need for retrofitting, digitizing, and installing new radar video data-distribution systems on US Navy ships, all-purpose tactical displays are also required. Video data from several on-board sources has to be available at all times at every display console. As described by Doug Lasniewski of the US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center and Andreas Yerocostas of Folsom Research, the resulting digital radar data-distribution system includes commercial off-the-shelf radar-signal-processors, scan-conversion products, and large versatile monitors (see p. 27).

Manual procedures for inspecting automobile axle assemblies generally prove slow, expensive, and prone to errors. To overcome these problems, one manufacturer hired a system integrator to develop an automatic and accurate digital vision system. According to contributing editor Dan Romanchik, the developed dual-camera system incorporates off-the-shelf components; runs faster; and reports and saves all test results (see p. 39).

Automotive plants are already heavily invested in vision inspection systems, but specialized vehicles, such as delivery vans and snow-plow trucks, need custom electronic switches to control unique operations. To inspect these switches for labels, structure, and proper parts, says editor Andrew Wilson, a PC-based dual-camera vision inspection system checks the visual characteristics and proper parts placement using off-the-shelf imaging components (see p. 43).

System integrators are using off-the-shelf machine-vision software that takes advantage of Intel's multimedia instructions (MMX) to accelerate image-processing functions. In this month's Product Focus, editor Andrew Wilson explains that these packages support Pentium and other MMX-enabled processors and provide easy upgrade paths (see p. 33).

George Kotelly, Editor in Chief
georgek@pennwell.com

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