Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

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

Making High Speed Imaging Mobile

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Factory machine vision and military applications often require mobility. This means that high speed cameras that can be integrated with laptops are increasingly desirable. This feature enables capturing data from assembly lines on the factory floor or collecting data in the field. The main impediment to deployment of these portable vision systems has been the lack of real-time massive data storage which is lightweight, flexible and self contained.

FastVision developed the inexpensive FastCamera Series to achieve these goals. For example, the 1.3 mega-pixel FastCamera13 can be purchased with up to one gigabyte of memory and an USB interface. A higher resolution version of the FastCamera13 is the FastCamera40 which has a four mega-pixel sensor and can also record for one second at 195 frames per second. With JPEG compression the camera can hold up to 10-20 seconds of full frame image data. Alternatively, with a (PCMCIA) frame grabber and real-time compression, data can be stored continuously in real-time on a laptopís hard drive.

The FastCamera supports large FPGAs (Virtex II 1,000 to 8,000), SRAM (up to 3MBs 200 MHz synchronous), as well as up to one gigabyte of 266 MHz DDR memory. These resources can provide significant processing of image data in real time. For example, the JPEG compression versions of the camera use a Xilinx Virtex II 3,000 and provides full speed, real-time compression of the images.

Both cameras frame rates are determined by the number of lines in the image. The FastCamera13 collects lines at 500,000 lines per second, while the FastCamera40 collects lines at 330,000 lines per second. By reducing the region of interest (ROI), you can achieve rates of 1,000 fps and above.

For low light conditions, both the FastCamera13 and FastCamera40 can be fitted with image intensifiers, providing up to a 70,000 to 1 gain. The spectrum coverage is quite wide, from UV into NIR.

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