sequence is a change in the configuration
mix of vision solutions.
These can be divided into a PC-based
solution or a stand-alone system. The
latter combines sensor and processor
along with other components to output an
answer, like a part being present or not.
Examples are smart cameras, embedded
vision systems, and the like.
“We’re going to do things today with a
stand-alone vision system that previously
we had to use a PC for,” Robles said.
“Stand-alone vision systems with embed-
ded processors have become fast enough
However, a PC-based system might
be needed for large images, like a 21-MP
camera, he added. He noted that the
greater power of a PC might also be
needed in complex applications where a
large number of cameras are used, but
that a PC-based system often is more
expensive to develop and deploy than a
smart camera vision solution.
Another shift has taken place in the
sensor space. At one time CCD was the
only option. But, improvements in CMOS
sensor performance mean that most applications have switched to this technology, in part because it uses less power and
generates less heat.
Vision systems have also benefited
from riding along with another consumer
mobile technology: cameras. Kerstin
Prechel, product manager at Ahrensburg,
Germany-based vision systems maker
Basler AG, noted that the sensors in these
devices have gotten significantly higher in
resolution while staying the same size or
shrinking as phone makers squeeze more
pixels into their devices.
For machine vision systems, the trend,
which is driven by the introduction of
smaller pixels, has made higher resolution
possible. There also have been parallel developments in lenses, meaning that even
these small pixels can now be resolved.
“This led to good usability of C-mount
lenses in applications that previously
needed high-quality cameras and lenses
that are much more expensive,” Prechel
said. “A next interesting trend might be
the need of the automobile industry for
cameras that will need different sensor
Other trends she sees involve the ar-
rival of 3D as well as very inexpensive
vision systems. Both will expand the pos-
sible applications. Basler is also noticing
a trend toward solutions that are just good
enough, as price alone becomes a more
and more important feature.
There are, of course, vision system aspects that still need improvement, including lenses and optics. Artemis Vision’s
Brennan said they tend to be a weak spot
of a system, in part because over time in
an industrial environment they have a ten-
Software and algorithm innovations make vision systems easier to use and more powerful.