Vision conference success F

ollowing a brief opening address by Iain Stewart, MP for

Milton Keynes South, the tone for the UKIVA Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition was set by the first keynote presentation of the day. With standing room only, over 100 people crammed into and around the presentation theatre to listen to Dr Mike Aldred from Dyson talking about the development of the Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner, which utilises images from a 360° Field Of View camera to locate itself within its environment. UKIVA could not have wished for a better start to its first ever Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition which took place on 27 April at MK Arena.

VIBRANT CONFERENCE With over 300 visitors from industry and academia, the Machine Vision Conference proved its educational credentials. It was hugely popular with total audience levels for the Conference exceeding 1,000 for the day. In addition to the two keynote addresses, there were 55 technical seminars held over seven presentation theatres offering varied content for both newcomers to the technology and experienced vision users. Presentation threads ranged from ‘Understanding vision’ through to ‘Vision innovation’. Hot topics in the vision industry such as 3D vision and embedded vision also had presentation theatres dedicated to them. The presentations on 3D Vision proved to be particularly popular, while attendance at the other presentation theatres was fairly evenly spread. Seminars covering applications or case studies were consistently well attended across all of the different subject areas. The morning session was opened by the keynote presentation from Dr Mike Aldred from Dyson and the afternoon session was opened by the keynote address by Dr Graham Deacon from Ocado Technology.

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES The keynote addresses were two of the highlights of the event, attracting large numbers of attendees. Both presentations

showed how vision is an enabling

technology that has applications that are directly relevant to the consumer. Aldred shared the challenges involved in developing the

Dyson 360eye robot vacuum cleaner which uses a 360-degree panoramic camera and simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithms to navigate around a room. However he pointed out that for a mass market product to work robustly in the real world, it must be tested in real situations and the 360 eye underwent around 75,000 home-trials over a period of 8 years prior to its launch! In the second keynote address, Dr Graham Deacon from Ocado technology talked about the use of robot manipulators to pick and pack shopping orders. Ocado is the world’s largest on-line only grocer. Deacon’s presentation showed how the robotics research team is using 3D point cloud cameras to help pick and pack robots deal with the diversity and variability of the products that Ocado stocks. This involves handling 48,000 SKUs (stock keeping units), picking between two and six million items every day and fulfilling 270,000 orders per week.

THE EXHIBITION The exhibition featured 57 of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of machine vision systems and components. Located centrally with respect to the presentation theatres, the exhibition was readily accessible to visitors throughout the day and provided the opportunity to see a rich selection of the latest vision technology. Most important, however, were the discussions that took place at the stands. Many UKIVA members reported that they had seen many visitors with live projects that have a real need for vision.

VIEWS FROM THE FLOOR There was a real buzz around the


event which has attracted extremely positive comments from attendees, speakers, the press, UKIVA members and exhibitors alike. Many speakers commented on how pleased they were with the numbers of people who came to listen to them. Many of these delegates subsequently visited them at their exhibition stands for further discussions. This synergy between the conference and exhibition was echoed by many of the visitors. For example, Giles Humphrey,

senior industrial engineer at Lear Corporation said: “I found the event extremely useful. I had the opportunity to meet potential new suppliers at the exhibition and picked up some useful hints and tips from the seminars.” The venue is also an important

consideration for an event of this kind and visitors commented favourably not only on the layout, which allowed easy access to all of the presentation theatres but also to the exhibition. In addition, people found access to the venue to be very straightforward with free parking right next to the hall.

FUTURE EVENTS The next major exhibition on the horizon for many UKIVA members is the PPMA Show, which will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, 26 – 28 September 2017. With the processing and packaging industries being key markets for vision, at least 15 UKIVA members will be participating in this event. The winner of the ‘Most

Innovative Vision Solution’ award, part of the PPMA Group awards will also be announced at this event. Details on how to enter can be found at:


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