In recent years, the trend of miniaturization has affected many areas of our everyday lives. Personal computers, smartphones, and other kinds of electronics are getting smaller and at the same time, more powerful than their predecessors. This trend also can be seen in the world of vision technology.
If you’re considering harnessing the potential of embedded vision technologies to boost your business opportunities or make your company fit to meet the growing demands of the modern market, you’re on the right path. With a professional team of experts in embedded software development, you can really future-proof your business.
How Does It Work?
An industrial camera and a PC are indispensable components of classical machine vision. In the beginning, industrial cameras tended to be the size of a drink box, while the industrial PC of that time could be easily used as a chair to sit on. It came as no surprise that the manufacturers and those carrying out the maintenance of equipment charged users big money.
Gradually, the PC size was shrinking and finally became considerably smaller and not cumbersome at all. Eventually, a standard PC could be replaced by processing boards. At the same time, the cameras decreased in size significantly. Small cameras became available without housing. They are known as board-level cameras and are built with the purpose of integration into a larger system and not as standalone cameras.
These two developments – the miniaturized PC and the powerful small camera – make it possible to design a very compact vision system for a specific application. Such a system is referred to as an embedded vision system. But how is this system structured?
An embedded vision system consists of a small camera directly connected to the processing board usually via a short cable. All these components are to be integrated into a larger system.
Advantages of Embedded Vision System
Nowadays, more and more companies and individual entrepreneurs opt for embedded vision systems, and for good reasons. Among the noteworthy advantages are their ease of use and lightweight. No need to install cumbersome equipment and pay lots of money for mounting it. The systems in question are relatively inexpensive and do not require costly maintenance. Moreover, such systems don’t consume much energy, thus allowing users to save even more.
So, how can an embedded camera be integrated? In machine vision applications, typical integrations work with a GigE or USB interface, which works as a plug-and-play solution connected to a PC. Combined with a manufacturer’s software development kit, this setup makes it easy to get access to the camera. Nevertheless, for cameras in embedded vision access to the camera is not necessarily as simple, since standard interfaces such as USB are often not used. Flexible lower interfaces are chosen instead because of their advantages in direct connection scenarios.
However, these interfaces require knowledge of embedded technologies. Therefore, the integration effort can be higher. Some manufacturers provide the cameras with the USB interface, though. That allows testing image quality and camera configuration prior to carrying out integration. This way, camera evaluation can be done on a plug-and-play basis before too much effort is spent on the integration.
Common Uses for Embedded Vision Systems
It’s not a secret anymore that embedded vision systems can open up new markets and applications like self-driving vehicles, supermarket scales that automatically detect what product is being weighed.
In the medical field, typical examples are portable fundus cameras that are capable of capturing the image of the back of a person’s eye or digital dermoscopy that can go a long way towards helping healthcare providers detect and correctly diagnose skin disorders like rash or lesions. And even more applications and improvements of the existing embedded vision technologies are underway.
Why Use It In Business?
In the near future, the world will see an increasing number of embedded vision solutions. It is much more cost-effective to use an application-specific processing system than a general-purpose computer, especially now that there is a strong tendency towards shrinking electronics to its ultimate limit. What’s more, embedded vision solutions are lightweight, compact, and wieldy.
This can make formerly stationary devices portable or even wearable. Embedded vision technologies enable a whole new generation of products, which means more opportunities for businesses. If you harness the rapidly developing potential of embedded vision, you’ll be able to take your entrepreneurial venture to a new level, extend your business into new, more profitable markets, and make it more competitive under the conditions of global digitalization.
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