The Future of Machine Vision

Posted by Gretchen Alper on Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Because it was the 25th Vision Show, and Adimec is celebrating our 20 year anniversary, we decided to look back on where machine vision has come from and where we are headed.  Click here for more information on the origins of machine vision

And now for our predictions of the future…

The future of image sensors

While CCD image sensors are still used significantly in machine vision applications, increased use of CMOS image sensor will continue with it becoming the main technology for UV/VIS/NIR wavelength ranges.  CMOS image sensor changes we can expect are:

–      Improved image sensor quality with respect to QE, noise, and dynamic range

–      Extended spectral range to UV and NIR

–      Many smaller pixels ( but then options to combine pixels 2x2, 3x3, 4x4 etc. to make larger pixels)

–      ToF (time of flight) combined with high resolution to measure depth

–      Added functionality – System on Chip

As for other sensor developments, we can expect to see more SWIR, MWIR, LWIR sensor options.


The future of machine vision cameras

Many cameras are becoming mainstream products.  For many factory automation applications, the currently available resolution/speed combinations are acceptable.  A lot of camera manufacturers are then focused on costs, size, and standards (integration).

For other applications, increased performance is still demanded.  There will still remain a market for special cameras where higher speed/resolution, spectral range, advanced processing improve overall system accuracy and performance. Due to the continued shrinkage of products and increased throughput of systems the demand for high performance cameras is actually increasing. 

We can expect 3D cameras, which would include integrated optics, illumination, and processing.  We also expect smart cameras will become more flexible and programmable with integrated optics and illumination solutions.


The future of digital interfaces

Standards developed for the consumer markets will be popular for mainstream cameras although optimized for machine vision, such as USB3 Vision. 

"Specialized" standards will remain necessary for certain applications requiring long distances, high speeds, etc.  Although we expect fewer standards, not more.

Other developments will include smart optical solutions such as daisy-chained fiber, and perhaps wireless video for short distances.


The future of frame grabbers

For mainstream applications, frame grabbers will be replaced by:

–      Smart cameras, or

–      Imaging computers, or

–      Native consumer interfaces on PC platform


For higher end solutions, frame grabbers will still be required, such as for timing sensitive solutions or image processing intensive applications.


For more information on the origins of machine vision and the future of the market, see this video from Jochem Herrmann, our Chief Scientist.


Topics: Interface Technology, Sensor Technology