Machine Vision's Spectral Reach

In many machine-vision applications, image capture and processing is confined to the visible spectrum. Multispectral imaging enables several discrete images in other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to be captured and processed.

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In many machine-vision applications, image capture and processing is confined to the visible spectrum. Multispectral imaging enables several discrete images in other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to be captured and processed.

To capture continuous spectral bands from the ultraviolet to the far infrared, hyperspectral imaging has become a powerful if expensive imaging tool. Hyperspectral remote-sensing applications from satellites have been flourishing in military and some commercial applications for several decades. Now, new, low-cost imaging spectrometers are being introduced that allow innovative approaches to both familiar and new applications.

In this month’s issue, Rand Swanson at Resonon describes a compact hyperspectral imaging system that can be flown in a Cessna aircraft to monitor the spread of leafy spurge, an invasive weed that reduces grazing forage for livestock. Such techniques also can be used in applications ranging from medical diagnostics, metallurgy, sorting materials, food processing, and microscopy.

Tuned to new wavelengths

In each issue of Vision Systems Design, we seek to describe innovations across the spectrum of machine-vision and image-processing applications. In our Product Focus, for example, editor Andy Wilson describes recent developments in miniaturized autofocus lenses. Whether based on electro-optical, electromechanical, thermo-optical, or acoustomechanical techniques, tunable optics will find cutting-edge applications in smart machine-vision and endoscopy systems and mobile phones.

Testing traditional optics used in lens manufacture is also a task for innovative machine-vision systems. Our cover story on this topic shows how an optical tester based on an off-the-shelf camera system can be used to calibrate centering errors of lenses to ensure the imaging quality of an optical assembly or subassembly.

Three-dimensional vision remains one of the most alluring areas for innovation in machine-vision development. While dual-camera and time-of-flight sensors are becoming increasingly important, other options such as the one described in an article about ISee3D now allow stereo images to be captured from a single camera/lens combination.

A birthday of note

Vision Systems Design is now in its 15th year of covering the machine-vision and image-processing industry. That may be a good record in the high-technology world—but it’s only a fraction of the time that our parent company, PennWell, has been providing information to audiences ranging from firefighters and dentists to defense contractors, power plant operators, and semiconductor manufacturers. From its founding as a journal of the oil and gas industry in 1910 to its current position as global media company, 100 years is a record to celebrate.

W. Conard Holton, Editor in Chief
cholton@pennwell.com

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