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Advanced Imaging Magazine

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

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By Advanced Imaging Editorial Staff

Progress in the Quest for a Common Interface

The GenICam standard was a hot topic at Vision 2005 in Stuttgart. The standard addresses the Tower of Babel problem inherent in the camera market today that makes it tough for programmers to interface to cameras using communication methods such as GigEVision, Camera Link, and 1394. The European Machine Vision Association (EMVA, Frankfurt) hosts the standard group working on GenICam.

GenICam will make it much easier for developers to write to cameras using the different interface technologies. The debut of GenICam will implement GenApi, one of four planned modules that will comprise the standard. GenApi deals with camera configuration—how a user sets a certain control (gain, for example). The standards group wants camera manufacturers to provide camera description files that contain information on how to automatically map a camera’s features to its registers.

To better understand the process, an example from the standard states: “Using GenICam, a piece of generic software will be able to read the camera’s description file and figure out that setting the gain to 42 means writing a value of 0x2A to a register located a 0x0815.” GenICam compliant cameras, then, can communicate through the common interface without worrying about the “flavor” of communications interface inherent in the camera itself.

The standards group includes Atmel (San Jose, CA), Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany), DALSA Coreco (Waterloo, ON), JAI Pulnix (Copenhagen), Leutron (Glattbrug, Switzerland), MVTec (Munich), Pleora (Kanata, ON), and Stemmer Imaging (Puccheim, Germany). The group held two meetings in 2005, and the next meeting will be held in February in Austin, TX.

For a clear overview, a copy of the standard, and other information, go to www.emva.org or www.genicam.org.

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