How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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By Larry Adams
Tire kickers stayed home and the show floor was sparse at times, but the booths were packed with interested buyers hovering over shelves and camera technology that included colorful, fast and smart new bells and whistles.
While the cameras on display at the Vision Show West (San Jose, CA) in May might only be classified as evolutionary rather than revolutionary, as some visitors offered, evolutionary is a powerful concept. In the case of the camera manufacturers' offerings, the evolving marketplace means new functionality and new capabilities that make the cameras easier to use and more useful to operate.
Adding functionality is a means for some companies to enter new markets. Gunnar Jonson, director of product marketing for JAI (Copenhagen), says that his company is looking to expand into new markets and that means new functionality is needed. "Our products can be used for machine vision, but they can also be used for traffic control, medical applications, food, pharmaceutical," he says. "Some of these markets require more functions, so we built in additional functions."
For JAI, this means software and hardware upgrades, which is a trend helping drive industry innovation. As upgrades occur in one area of the industry, other technologies must follow. "Camera technology is improving all the time," says Greg Hollows, product line manager for Edmund Industrial Optics (Barrington, NJ). "The industry is always improving and that forces the optics industry to do more and more to improve. It is a constant state of bettering the product."
Sony (Park Ridge, NJ), for instance, introduced three new cameras including two 1394b-related cameras — one in black and white and one in color raw — and, for the first time, a smart camera. In order not to compete with its customers, Sony's XCI-SX1 smart camera is being sold only as a hardware platform that OEMs, systems integrators and others can build upon, and, potentially, third-party vendors may support.