How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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Today’s machine vision buzz is all about Gigabit Ethernet. Pervasive and affordable, Ethernet technology has the potential to revolutionize the machine vision industry. Gigabit Ethernet for machine vision (GigE Vision™) is based on existing Ethernet standards with extensions for locating the device on a network, an XML-based device descriptor for describing a camera’s feature set, a control protocol for device/application control, and a streaming protocol for data transmission. The Automated Imaging Association (AIA) has taken responsibility for developing a protocol for video transmission that is attuned to the needs of scientific and industrial applications.
Implementation of GigE Vision™ into vision applications is attractive due to simple connectivity with a standard network interface card (NIC). Like any new technology, however, machine vision developers must be wary of all the implications with generic adapters. Regardless of the interface, connecting an IEEE-1394 or GigE Vision™ camera to standard cards will leave you without the valuable I/O that are commonplace with frame grabbers. Moving the I/O to the camera would be as effective as having it on the frame grabber, except that the cameras may not offer this I/O and the standard connection may not be deterministic enough for synchronizing part presence, firing a strobe and imaging acquisition in a high-speed scenario.
If the data throughput is exceedingly high, multiple cameras are implemented, or substantial processing is required CPU intensive pre-processing tasks such as filtering, color space conversions and transformations that have traditionally been well served by specialized frame grabbers are no longer addressed using standard adapter cards or GigE Vision™ NICs.
Matrox Imaging has solutions for those customers who want to explore the possibilities of GigE Vision™. At the recent Vision Show East, Matrox Imaging announced its MIL GigE Vision™ driver for use with the popular, robust Matrox Imaging Library (MIL) 8.0. This driver allows developers to take advantage of the GigE Vision™ potential without sacrificing image processing functionality, as the driver requires very little host CPU intervention for processing incoming GigE Vision™ traffic. Matrox Imaging customers can also expect to soon see a solution for GigE Vision™ that incorporates peripheral I/O and pre-processing.
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