How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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There are numerous challenges faced in the development and maintenance of a Software Development Kit (SDK). "With so many 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems now widely available, including Windows, Linux, Mac, Real Time and Embedded, the number of end applications are often limitless," said Kevin Cowan, Software Engineering Manager, Andor Technology, (Belfast, Northern Ireland). "The advent of new operating systems has brought fresh challenges for developers since very often device drivers and libraries of legacy code need to be redesigned and retested to suit new platforms. If an SDK interacts with hardware there are now multiple interfaces (USB, FireWire, GigE, Camera Link, Proprietary PCI) to contend with and all are constantly striving to perform better and faster than the previous generation."
A big decision for developers is the development language used for SDK development. "New programming languages are being developed and all with their own strengths and weaknesses—the initial decision is very important since it can be costly and time consuming to change this at a later stage, said Cowan. "With so many SDKs currently available attempts are being made to unify interfaces to make hardware and software integration easier for end users (e.g. Machine Vision Standards)."
A&B Software (New London, Conn.) offers ActiveDcam, ActiveGigE and ActiveBF—a series of universal SDKs for 1394, GigE Vision and Camera Link digital cameras. The SDKs provide developers with an immediate access to multiple cameras through a simple drop of ActiveX objects on an application surface. The ActiveX interface guarantees an easy integration into virtually any programming environment, including C++, C#, VB6, VB.NET, Delphi, Java, Matlab, Python. It literally takes minutes to develop a simple camera application while having very basic programming skills. The SDKs offer comprehensive property dialogs with a full control over camera attributes. Among other features are: Bayer and CYGM color interpolation, de-interlacing, AVI 2.0 timestamp recording, instance access to image buffers and pixels, real-time image processing, color overlays of graphics and text, image flipping and rotation, histogram and statistical analysis, built-in background correction. The anti-tearing feature eliminates the tearing artifact by synchronizing the frame rate of the camera with the monitor's refresh rate. Included TWAIN and DirectShow drivers provide plug-and-play compatibility with third-party imaging and video recording applications. Provided with the SDKs are multiple code samples in different programming languages. The SDKs are highly optimized for speed and fine-tuned to a number of popular camera models. www.ab-soft.com
AccuSoft® Corp. (Northborough, Mass.) announces that version 16 of its widely-used ImageGear® imaging Software Development Toolkits are shipping. The new releases of ImageGear Professional, ImageGear Medical, ImageGear for .NET, and ImageGear for .NET Compact Framework offer software developers many new features to build advanced imaging applications with unparalleled ease and speed for a wide range of platforms and industries. Highlights of the new releases include support for AJAX, comprehensive new photo enhancement and special effects, and support for more than 100 additional digital camera RAW formats. The new releases also feature the ability to view, edit, and convert 3D PDFs and Universal 3D Images (U3D), support for DWF, XPS, and Adobe PSB file formats, and new PDF-A and PDF-X verifiers. www.accusoft.com
Andor Technology (Belfast, Northern Ireland) provides a Software Development Kit for its camera and spectrograph devices. The SDK is a set of development tools that enables a software developer to integrate an Andor device seamlessly into their applications. In the SDK is a suite of functions that allows full control of all product features including support for simultaneous control of multiple devices.The key component of the SDK is a dynamically loaded library (DLL in Windows, Shared Object in Linux) which exports a "C"-style programming interface that can be used with all major programming languages. The SDK installation includes all the necessary device drivers, example programs, documentation (including a function reference) and SDK interface wrappers that allow easy integration with a range of programming environments, including C, C++, C#, National Instruments LabVIEW, Mathworks Matlab, Pascal, VB6 and VB.NET.A number of third party imaging software companies have integrated the Andor SDK including Molecular Devices (Universal Imaging), μManager, Nikon, Olympus, Leica, Media Cybernetics, Intelligent Imaging Innovations, Indec Imaging, Scanalytics, Digital Optics, Zeiss and Diffraction Limited. Supported operating Systems: Windows 2000, XP and Vista operating systems (32-bit & 64-bit); Linux—Camera SDK Only (32-bit and 64-bit). www.andor.com
MergeCOM3 from Cedara Software (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) is an industry standard toolkit that greatly reduces the time to bring DICOM conformant products to the medical imaging market by enabling developers to focus on their product application rather than the low le vel details of the DICOM protocol. The Software Development Kit provides simple, high-level abstraction of DICOM messaging details. Comprehensive sample applications provide a straightforward demonstration of programming concepts. For many medical imaging applications, slight customization of the sample applications is the only development required. Offered for C/C++, .NET and Java on a dozen different platforms. www.cedara.com
DALSA (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) introduces the Sapera Essential Color Tool, a suite of color image processing classes for machine vision applications. The Sapera Essential Color Tool includes libraries for: Color Conversions—optimized color space conversion supporting RGB, YUV, HSV and LAB formats. Split and merge functions also are available for plane-by-plane processing. Color Image Processing, including operations such as thresholding, histogram, projections, statistics, clustering, and color reduction.Color Calibration: user trainable color correction algorithm uses standardized color chart and compensates for different lighting conditions. Color Classification: color classifier trained from a series of color samples and used to separate color regions of an image. Coupled with a blob analyzer it is used to inspect color images in areas like food inspection and pharmaceutical. DALSA's Sapera Essential features a full suite of machine vision software development tools that include image acquisition using CameraLink or GigE devices, image processing and analysis tools for Area and Edge Based Search, Barcode, OCR, Blob Analysis and Calibration. In addition, Sapera Essential includes productivity tools such as Sapera Architect, a GUI-based prototyping environment, CamExpert, GUI based camera configuration utility and Sapera Monitor, a non-intrusive utility to investigate system events and application response. Sapera Essential is a key enabler for the DALSA's Trigger-to-Image reliability framework. Now offering support for .NET platform, DALSA's Sapera Essential applications can be developed using C++, C# and Visual Basic on Windows XP and Windows Vista, 32 or 64-bit platforms. www.dalsa.com
As a manufacturer and developer of digital cameras and custom imaging solutions for industrial, scientific and security applications, Lumenera (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) offers Software Developer Kits for both its USB 2.0 and Ethernet camera lines. Lumenera's trained Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) professionals can assist with evaluation through advanced software modifications for any of our 80+ camera models. Lumenera offers a complete USB 2.0 SDK based upon its extensive Application Programming Interface (API). 64-bit support has now been introduced (beta). Lumenera's SDK includes a CD with User's Manual, API Manual, sample code, and unlimited engineering support. Full source code for the LuCam Capture application provides many examples of how to use the functions in real-world applications, consisting of a complete Microsoft C++ 2003 .Net project. The libraries are also compatible with Visual Basic, Visual Basic.Net and Visual C#.Net, and Borland C++ Builder. In summary the SDK provides the tools necessary to develop software to control the camera within your own application. www.lumenera.com
The Matrox Imaging Library (MIL, Dorval, Quebec, Canada) 9.0 features several enhancements that bring image processing performance to a new level. MIL 9.0 takes advantage of today's extremely high-performance graphics processor units (GPUs) and high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. This enables a MIL application to be distributed across several computers over a network, to be controlled remotely, or in a master-slave configuration. Furthermore, MIL 9.0 can help reduce the load on the host CPU by offloading image processing functions (primitives such as arithmetic, geometric transforms, filters, and morphology), to a graphics processor unit (GPU). Finally, MIL 9.0 includes support for Windows Vista and 64-bit operating systems. As an add-on, MIL 9.0's Processing Pack 1 (PP1) features multi-core and multi-CPU speed optimizations, a color analysis tool, a 3D reconstruction tool and verification of 1D/2D codes using ISO/IEC standards. www.matrox.com/imaging