Low-cost smart cameras ship with machine vision software
National Instruments is introducing the NI 1722 and NI 1742 Smart Cameras to provide engineers and scientists with high-performance systems at a low cost. The NI Smart Cameras are embedded devices that combine an industrial controller with an image sensor and integrate with NI vision software to offer image processing directly on the cameras, making them suitable for applications such as locating parts, inspection, verifying assembly, and reading 1D and 2D codes.
The new cameras are shipped with National Instruments Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI), an interactive software environment for configuring, benchmarking and deploying machine vision applications without programming. With this intuitive, menu-driven software, engineers can build complex machine vision applications incorporating not only vision algorithms but also state-based execution with looping and branching using the built-in state diagram editor. For more advanced applications, NI Smart Cameras also integrate with National Instruments LabVIEW software and the full NI library of image processing and machine vision algorithms such as edge detection, pattern matching, 1D and 2D code reading (such as Data Matrix) and optical character recognition (OCR). Machine vision applications can migrate between platforms with few modifications because LabVIEW and Vision Builder AI support this entire range of hardware.
John Hanks, NI Vice President of Industrial Product Marketing, comments: "The NI Smart Cameras represent a significant step forward for the vision industry by achieving high performance at a low cost while expanding the NI vision hardware platform beyond PC-based systems and compact vision systems to the sensor itself. From inspecting silicon wafers to packaging food products, NI Smart Cameras provide machine builders and process engineers with easy-to-use, all-in-one inspection solutions that deliver the capabilities of a full-featured vision system."
Built for use in harsh industrial environments, the NI 1722 (priced from £1299 or EUR1849) features a 400MHz PowerPC processor and the NI 1742 (priced from £1599 or EUR2299) features a 533MHz processor. The monochrome VGA (640 x 480) image sensor used in both cameras is a high-quality Sony charge-coupled device (CCD). The cameras also provide built-in industrial I/O, including two opto-isolated digital inputs and two opto-isolated digital outputs, one RS232 serial port and two gigabit Ethernet ports with support for industrial protocols, including Modbus TCP.
In addition, the NI 1742 includes quadrature encoder support and a built-in controller featuring NI direct drive lighting technology. With quadrature encoder support, engineers can easily synchronise inspections with linear and rotary drive systems. The NI direct drive controller features a built-in LED lighting drive that provides up to 500mA constant current and up to 1A strobed current. Strobe lighting offers increased lighting intensity by up to four times without harming the light head.
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