How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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by Hank Russell
Many people think that lenses are more than helping photographers view the image before they can take a picture. But lenses do much more than that; they are integral in other fields such as machine vision, CCTV, surveillance and even medical, scientific and military imaging.
Raytheon Infrared, based in Dallas, TX, uses industry standard BST in its night vision and thermal imaging products. “In addition, it is used in our thermal imaging core technology that is incorporated into OEM products by our partners,” explains Stan Kummer, Raytheon Infrared’s public safety and industrial markets director. “We use our microbolometer technology — Alpha Silicon — in other products requiring smaller size and lighter weight. Our lenses are specially designed for use with thermal imaging capabilities.”
The lenses used with the Thermal-Eye cameras require special materials so that the infrared wavelength can be “seen.” These specialty materials are typically germanium or a proprietary glass-type product manufactured either by Raytheon or another company. “These specialty materials are required as infrared frequency does not penetrate glass,” Kummer says. “The lenses function similarly to other types of traditional camera lenses. Instead of passing visible light frequencies, however, they pass infrared frequencies and focus the energy received from the thermal scene onto the detector.”
Tamron USA (Commack, NY) came up with an improved iris mechanism (patent pending) for its CCTV lenses so that, even if the aperture were fully closed, it would perform better than its previous models. In addition, Tamron constructs its lenses depending on customer or market demands. “If the demand is higher resolution, then that is what we care about the most,” explains Eugene Dyas, Tamron’s senior manager, Industrial Optics Division. “Where there is a possibility, we will bring in the idea and the technology, be it aspherical, LD or multicoating.”