Hex pixel dumps

In some of its frame grabbers,More trends in machine vision will affect frame grabbers in the near future. One of the most important is dealing with the high bandwidth and huge images resulting from the use of Camera Link, said Slaughter. “In PCB and component inspection, you might want a really high-resolution image of a board or wafer, but what do you do with it? Do you stream it to a RAID array, or try to do some kind of in-line processing? If you are doing in-line processing, you won’t be able to do it very fast, so do you do post-processing?”

All of Imperx’s frame grabbers are made for notebook computers, said company sales manager Nathan Cohen. “Notebooks are entering machine-vision applications more and more as they come equipped with dual-core and quad-core processors, huge amounts of memory, and higher bus speeds” he said. “You can use them for a small production run, for simpler systems that do not need many I/O controls, or for more complex systems that sit on the production line but need to be contained in a compact space. We’re seeing a rise in inquiries for electronics applications because people are shrinking their systems.” Notebooks equipped with frame grabbers make machine vision portable, and they are becoming popular in situations where a full desktop computer is not needed, he said.

The company’s newest model, FrameLink Express, was originally designed for military applications. A Camera Link model for newer, faster ExpressCard laptops, it can simultaneously acquire images from two Camera Link cameras. Because it’s compliant with ExpressCard, it provides up to 235 Mbytes/s of bandwidth, which is fast enough to work with line-scan cameras on an electronics production line, Cohen said. The FrameLink Express can do histograms, look-up tables, and hex pixel dumps, and it also integrates a timing generator. “With two inputs on the frame grabber, you can designate one camera as a primary and one as a slave and synchronize imagery very precisely for 3-D inspection, or use multiple cameras at different points on a production line,” he said. “Multiple inputs in a laptop also let you overlay images for multispectral inspection such as IR, UV, and visible light.”

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