Embedded vision gains traction
The rapid evolution of computing power in embedded, single board computer systems is providing new, exciting possibilities for vision. Embedded vision systems based on platforms such as NVIDIA® Jetson, Raspberry Pi®, CompuLab and ODROID are the newest variants of intelligent vision and are finding increasing use in applications where space is constrained, cost is an issue and a self-contained vision solution is required.
Big capabilities in small packages
With embedded systems already controlling many devices commonly used today in consumer, industrial, automotive, medical, commercial and military applications, the principle of using an embedded vision system is particularly attractive. Precisely configured designs are less costly both from a production point of view and ongoing support and service. Embedded vision is also an obvious platform for large volume solutions where economy of scale can have a real impact.
For example, the Raspberry Pi 3 has a quad core CPU which offers a level of processing greater than that available on most laptops not so long ago - and all for around $35. In order to take advantage of this processing power, many of the leading image processing libraries are now providing the capability to port to these platforms. A powerful image processing solution can be developed on a PC and then transferred to the embedded system where it will run independently. In addition, there are a variety of software development kits available that will provide interfaces to a wide range of camera types.
Scalling vision to your needs
An embedded vision system essentially utilises any microprocessor-based platform that isn’t a general-purpose computer. Smart cameras contain the image capture and processing capabilities within the camera unit itself, while compact, or multi-point imaging systems feature a self-contained unit for image acquisition and processing that can control multiple cameras. With the recent introduction of smart vision sensors as well, there is a real scalable choice of embedded vision solutions and the goals of the application must be used to drive the selection. In our centre page feature, we take a closer look at these different types of ‘embedded’ vision systems and how they can be used. Thanks are due to UKIVA members Alrad Imaging, Baumer, IDS Imaging Development Systems, Multipix Imaging, Sick and Stemmer Imaging for their contributions to these features.
Additional articles, Board Level Vision Systems, Smart Cameras and Vision Sensors, Choosing an Embedded Vision Solution and Multi-point Camera Systems will take a more indepth look at embedded vision technologies and their applications.
UKIVA members can offer further advice Embedded Vision Technology.