Now see this!

FireWire-based
machine vision puts
multiple cameras online.

Coordinating cameras, controllers, frame grabbers, and output can be a challenge, especially for applications with multiple cameras.

The Compact Vision System from National Instruments, Austin, Tex., promises to simplify things. It melds powerful LabView software with low-cost, multicamera machine-vision systems. For instance, developers can connect a small, lightweight remote head camera for harsh industrial environments, a high-resolution megapixel camera for gauging small objects, and a low-cost monochrome camera for optical character recognition.

Three IEEE 1394 FireWire ports connect to a variety of imaging sensors including Sony and Basler cameras. Each camera shares a portion of the 400 Mbits/sec bandwidth. Developers choose camera resolution and speed to match the application. Compact Vision is compatible with NI Vision Builder Automated Inspection software that builds inspection systems with a point-and-click interface. LabView handles more customized applications.

The system includes 15 digital inputs, 14 digital outputs, RS-232, and Ethernet connections. More than 20 NI FieldPoint distributed I/O measurement modules can interface with PLCs and motion controllers.
A VGA connection permits the monitoring of results in real time. The system runs off a 24-Vdc power supply, operates over a temperature range of 0 to 55°C with no fans or external vents, and has 128 Mbits of DRAM and 32 Mbits of nonvolatile memory.

The CVS-145x Series vision system from National Instruments sports three FireWire camera inputs for handling a variety of machine-vision tasks.