Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Graphics Solutions

From security to 3D graphic arts, PC platforms and chips make a difference
tracking program for airport security
© National Instruments
National Instruments worked with Austrian company Joanneum Research to create a tracking program for airport security.
Nvidia’s Quadro products
© Nvidia
Nvidia’s Quadro products are designed for cutting edge 3D imagery.
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By Barry Hochfelder

When Junior sits in front of the computer playing video games, he probably has little idea that the technology he's enjoying is also at play in many important applications. The PC platforms and processor chips that help him track the good guys and the bad guys in his game, can help track and protect regular folks as they go about their daily business.

National Instruments in Austin, Texas, is one company that fills an important niche.

"The way NI fits in, we provide the tools to do solutions and go through partners and integrators," says Matt Slaughter, Vision Product Manager. "We resell some cameras, but manufacture our own frame grabbers. For things like optics or lighting, we go through partners with NI hardware and software.

"We have really good synchronization between platforms with any kind of camera interface or data acquisition cards," he adds. "We also can synchronize two cards. For example, we can take two cards that relate; one does the picture, another does measurement. It can take a picture of a tank and measure the pressure inside, or take an infrared picture and measure the pressure or temperature. A lot of companies are doing vision, but not entire measurements of data acquisition, motion and vision."

NI works with a number of research facilities. Joanneum Research in Graz, Austria, for example, uses NI's LabVIEW programming language, software and frame grabber to develop airport security applications for tracking individuals or vehicles. Joanneum's Institute for Digital Image Processing deals with problems related to surveillance applications, including tracking pedestrians in video streams, says Joanneum's Oliver Sidla on NI's web site.

"It's set up for airport security," says NI's Slaughter. "You can track individuals or vehicles. You just train it on what you want to track using advanced vision algorithms."

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