Embedded special

different scale

Vision on a

Embedded processing is opening up a huge market for imaging, a market that machine vision suppliers are trying to tap into. Greg Blackman attended the Embedded Vision Summit in Santa Clara, where Allied Vision launched its new camera platform


maging is becoming ubiquitous. Image sensors and computing are now so cheap that imaging is just another function on any

number of products. Autonomous cars are able to navigate and avoid collisions and obstacles thanks, in part, to vision sensors; Dyson’s new robot vacuum cleaner navigates using vision, while robots can harvest crops when they ripen and destroy weeds selectively, all using advanced imaging (more on Dyson’s robot vacuum cleaner on page 28 and automated harvesting on page 32). Embedded vision, a term meaning essentially that the image processing happens onboard the device, could be used to describe each of these examples – and it’s infiltrating all areas of society, from healthcare to transport to retail. Te machine vision sector deals in advanced

imaging as does embedded vision – and machine vision has embedded products, smart cameras being one example – yet the two markets are largely separate, mainly down to price. ‘Te embedded vision market has really come out of the high-volume consumer sector,’ commented Mark Williamson, director of corporate market development at machine vision supplier Stemmer Imaging. ‘Machine vision hasn’t really touched this market because the price point of what we’ve had as technology is too high. Automotive and robot

companies have gone and developed vision technology from scratch. Te machine vision industry is waking up to the fact that there is this whole mass market development going on that’s not running on a PC.’ Machine vision companies are indeed

waking up to the embedded market. At the Embedded Vision Summit, a computer vision conference in Santa Clara, California in May, organised by the Embedded Vision Alliance, Allied Vision launched a €99 camera targeting the embedded vision market. What’s special about the Allied Vision 1 product line is that it contains an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) processor, a first for any machine vision camera maker because the volumes of cameras sold into machine vision are not normally high enough to support such a system-on-chip. ASIC chips require high volumes to make them cost-effective, and so this camera aims to be a bridge between the high-performance, costly and low-volume industrial vision market and the higher- volume, lower-cost embedded market. Andreas Gerk, Allied Vision’s CTO, told

Imaging and Machine Vision Europe during the show that the typical cameras in the embedded market are not as rich in features as in the machine vision sector. Allied Vision hopes to offer some of the functionality

20 Imaging and Machine Vision Europe • June/July 2017


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