Machine vision encompasses all technology that allows a machine to see, also referred to as computer vision or image processing. However the term machine vision has become linked with industrial vision where a camera and processor make a decision on what it sees and relays information back to the handling system. Applications of machine vision include automated product inspection, code reading, and vision guided robotics.
Unlike other forms of image capture, machine vision requires specific capabilities such as asynchronous triggering and progressive scan. These capabilities ensure a sharp high quality image is captured at exactly the right time without distortion and are generally not found in cameras used for broadcast, security and multimedia. These features find themselves in all cameras developed for machine vision. A good machine vision system also includes robust algorithms to measure and identify items in the image and then pass data in a compatible format back to the controlling PLC.
Machine Vision systems come in many forms including smart cameras where everything is included in the camera body along with embedded multi camera systems and PC based systems for more complex applications.