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A glimpse into the future: Smart Cameras

In the project VisCam, REC GmbH develops solutions for Object-Location Recognition which can be applied to smart cameras.

The trend in industrial image processing is moving away from PC-based solutions and toward so-called Smart Cameras. These smart cameras can not only record and transmit images but also perform the entire image processing and interpretation.

Compared to PC-based solutions that can have a powerful CPU with comparatively unlimited resources for the implementation of image-processing algorithms, smart cameras, because of their limited resources place heavy demands on the algorithms used. Hence the use of new and optimized algorithms which are necessary for embedded systems and take advantage of the special hardware for maximum performance of the smart cameras.

 


Classical systems consist of a camera, external image-processing computer components and the robot controller.
Smart Cameras also perform image processing and object recognition along with recording image data. They can communicate directly with the robot controller.

Benefits at a glance

Compactness

The smart camera is the only component besides the robot control system. By eliminating the PC not only additional space is gained, but the wiring of all the components is also simplified. These factors can be considered in the design phase of new plants: more free space provides more opportunities for optimization.

Robustness

The wiring of physically separate components in simple and complex systems constitutes a potential source of error. Often the wiring causes hard to reproduce and difficult to locate errors. Thanks to the smart camera the essential data path can be completely minimized since the image data is not longer required to be transferred to a PC. The image data is instead processed and interpreted using an internal high-speed data path.

Minimal Energy Consumption

Since the image processing algorithms are executed on specialized hardware, the energy requirements of previously used PCs are not applicable anymore. Universal CPUs, which are designed with the aim of a wide range of applications, usually have some spare hardware and operating system components which need additional energy.

Mobility

Fewer components means more mobility. Therefore, smart cameras are ideal for use on mobile platforms.

 
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