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Embedded Vision Products
by Rich Handley
Reliable, rugged and compact systems have been the thrust of the embedded vision market in 2003-and thanks to miniaturization and advanced packaging technologies, customers have been delivered better products. According to Jason Mulliner, Vision Product Manager at National Instruments (Austin, Texas), embedded vision systems are typically placed in harsh environments or integrated within a machine. As such, passive cooling with no moving parts is essential to maintaining reliability in such environments. The constant push in the consumer world to deliver high-performance, low-power processors, of course, has only helped the embedded vision world.
Mulliner defined embedded vision as encompassing image acquisition, processing and analysis routines directly on a single processor with some real-time operating system or kernel. "The operating system," he told AI, "must dedicate the maximum amount of resources to the inspection tasks and not be distracted by interrupts or other processes that may degrade performance. Embedded systems should be deterministic, meaning the inspection routines will execute in a fixed amount of time, every time."
One such system,
from Santa Clara, CA-based PFU Systems, Inc. (a Fujitsu company), is the NomadFIRE. This self-contained system board is built for high-speed, real-time image capture in embedded applications. Used for prototyping, the NomadFIRE is intended to reduce time-to-market for medical and industrial imaging, public security, robotics, law enforcement and news-gathering applications. The NomadFire uses Plug-N-Run System-on-Module (SOM) components, while a PCI-104 socket provides user-I/O expansion for complex image capture and processing via off-the-shelf PCI-104 modules.
— Indicate 201 under September 03