How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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Medical: Endoscopes, fiberscopes and dental cameras rely on the user to manually adjust the focus. A reliable autofocus allows for faster and less tedious handling of these tools. The requirements on the auto-focus system are primarily very close distance to focus (below 5cm, often below 1cm); reliability, especially compliance with medical environmental targets; silent operation, so it is not uncomfortable for the patient.
Low-vision systems also are being designed to help people with reduced vision (perhaps from glaucoma or cataracts). These may be handheld or fixed, for manual use or computer-assisted. They require autofocus to capture the target scene or image prior to displaying it back with the required improvements.
Given the usage scenario, a very high level of repeatability and reliability is expected from the autofocus actuator, along with the ability to focus at very close distances (below 10cm).
Nathalie Combrousse joined Varioptic (Lyon, France) as marketing communications manager in 2006. She has 18 years of international management experience in business-to-business and consumer marketing. She can be reached at Nathalie.combrousse