PC imagery bests speed and accuracy demands

To take advantage of increasingly more-powerful personal computers, machine-vision and image-processing products are being improved at a similar pace to accommodate the expanding application demands for faster results at higher accuracies. Whether these applications involve x-rays, blood-flows, robotic welders, or miniature displays, advanced vision and imaging capabilities are being cost-effectively combined with personal computers to satisfy system speed and accuracy requirements.

PC imagery bests speed and accuracy demands

George Kotelly, Executive Editor

georgek@pennwell.com

To take advantage of increasingly more-powerful personal computers, machine-vision and image-processing products are being improved at a similar pace to accommodate the expanding application demands for faster results at higher accuracies. Whether these applications involve x-rays, blood-flows, robotic welders, or miniature displays, advanced vision and imaging capabilities are being cost-effectively combined with personal computers to satisfy system speed and accuracy requirements.

In clinical radiology, digital x-ray technology is steadily replacing conventional x-ray film and chemicals with high-resolution digital imagery. It is eliminating the process costs of developing, storing, and transporting x-ray film and, reports contributing editor John Haystead, when combined with postprocessing and analysis software, providing faster results and major accuracy enhancements in computer-aided detection and diagnosis (see p. 29).

To gain a better understanding of blood flow for diagnosing arterial disease, a vascular surgeon has applied high-speed imaging technology to closely monitor blood-flow simulations. According to contributing editor Larry Curran, a PC-based digital video system is used to record images of fluid pressure and flow rate at 500 to 1000 frames/s. The imaging data enable meticulous computer calculations of fluid sheer stresses that can be associated with arterial disease (see p. 37).

Semiconductor manufacturers are looking for fast, accurate, reliable, and affordable vision systems for controlling automated welding machines. To meet these requirements, as spotlighted by contributing editor Winn Hardin, the latest vision systems are incorporating dual processors and the symmetrical multiprocessing capabilities of Windows NT software. These high-speed systems are precisely guiding robotic welders at rates to 15 welds per second (see p. 47).

Both domestic and foreign manufacturers are producing flat-panel microdisplay products that use technologies that can be classified into three categories: micromechanical structures, nonemissive liquid-crystal units, and active-matrix or field-emission technology. In this month`s product focus, editor-at-large Andy Wilson finds that precision instruments, process-control systems, and hand-held and head-mounted devices are pushing the demand for these miniature displays (see p. 51).

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