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By Keith Reid
Welcome to Advanced Imaging's annual software issue. The imaging industry provides a wealth of capable hardware for end-users, whether they are involved with machine vision, science, medicine the military or homeland security. A lot of this hardware is innovative, with distinct feature sets and performance capabilities that can set one camera, optics or illumination solution apart from competitors. However, in many applications the hardware can offer comparable performance and software becomes "the great differentiator."
Software takes the raw performance provided by the hardware and turns the imaging data into something that is useful to the end-user. Software can enhance the capabilities of the hardware, and it can make the hardware easy to use and easy to adapt to a range of different requirements.
There are many of companies that provide software solutions to meet a full range of imaging needs. We have worked hard in this issue to provide a somewhat detailed overview of as many of these solutions as possible. The core technology feature covers over 20 imaging-related software applications. Contributing editors Lee Nelson and Leonard Hindus took this a bit further, by providing a more detailed look at a variety of the software development kits available on the market —discussing their basic capabilities and functions as well as their ease-of-use. The article "Image Analysis—Enhancing the Human Equation, or Removing it Altogether" covers how a mainstay of machine vision—automated image analysis—is increasingly being ported into a variety of fields such as remote sensing, biological research and the military and homeland security markets. These applications take the basic algorithms developed to perform machine vision tasks to an entirely new level in what are often highly dynamic and unpredictable environments.
We hope this coverage provides our readers with some enhanced value in this specific area of focus. We have tried to straddle the line between providing broad but too shallow coverage, or deep but too narrow coverage of the numerous offerings available in the marketplace. Of course, as one of the eight critical core imaging components, there is no question that software will continued to be regularly covered in future issues of the magazine as well as receiving some occasional special treatment.
Editor, Advanced Imaging