Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Cameras are for More than Taking Pictures

Industrial cameras run the gamut from machine vision to surveillance.
The miniHiPerCam from American ELTEC is a fully featured Embedded Linux camera.
Silicon Video 9T001C
EPIX's Silicon Video 9T001C color camera system.
Silicon Imaging?s SI-6600 series cameras
Silicon Imaging's SI-6600 series cameras are available in Camera Link, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0.

Cameras used in electronic imaging applications are more complex than the average point-and-shoot camera one buys off the shelf of a local camera or consumer electronics store. Industrial cameras do not ask its subjects to smile and say "Cheese." The cameras need to capture fast-moving components to determine if a product on an assembly line is misaligned or defective, or to determine if someone is trespassing on private property. The heat intensity of an object can be obtained for security purposes.

While cameras are different, so too are the sensors that capture the images. Camera sensors seem to be broken into two camps: one for CCD-based cameras and one for CMOS-based cameras. While CCD sensors have better sensitivity and lower noise, CMOS sensors are cost-effective because they use less power. "CMOS sensors, however, have taken big steps towards reducing the quality gap from the CCD counterparts and they are closing up rapidly," states Tassos Markas of Atmel Corp. (San Jose, CA). "A CCD sensor needs other external components such as analog-to-digital (A/D) converted and correlated double sampling chip, a driver chip and, in some cases, a timing generation chip. On the other hand, in CMOS sensors, all this functionality is integrated into the sensor chip."

The miniHiPerCam from American ELTEC (Las Vegas, NV) is an Embedded Linux camera available in both color and monochrome versions. Based on ELINOS, an embedded version of the Linux operating system, it can be used in embedded vision applications, as well as for traffic control, quality inspection, movement detection, and object recognition and identification. Both CMOS image sensors operate at 640x480-pixel resolution and a frame rate of 15 or 30 hertz.

The AViiVA SM2 and the AViiVA SC2 linescan cameras from Atmel feature flat-field correction capabilities. Both cameras operate within a dynamic precision range of 8, 10 or 12 bits with dedicated electronics. The AViiVA SM2 features a sensor from 512 to 4k pixels, and a 10 or 14-micron pixel size. The AViiVA SC2 features a 4K-pixel sensor with a 10-micron pixel size and a RGB color pattern.

BAE Systems' (Lexington, MA) PMC300 640x480 uncooled infrared (IR) camera for long-range day/night surveillance and vision enhancement. It is an environmentally qualified, uncooled 640x480 IR camera. It generates high-resolution thermal imagery capable of meeting mission detection requirements at stand-off distances once limited to cooled IR cameras. A family of lenses range from 18 to 100/300 millimeters dual field of view.

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