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Integrated camera-controller can synch with drives

10 November, 2007

National Instruments has announced a pair of machine vision cameras with integrated industrial controllers and software that processes images within the cameras. The NI Smart Cameras are aimed at applications such as locating parts, inspecting packaging, verifying assembly and reading 1D and 2D codes.

The more powerful of the two cameras supports quadrature encoders, allowing engineers to synchronise inspections with linear and rotary drive systems.

NI samrt camera

According to John Hanks, NIís vice-president of industrial product marketing, the 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".

The NI 1722 camera is based on a 400MHz PowerPC processor, while the more powerful NI 1742 has a 533MHz processor. Both cameras contain a monochrome VGA (640 x 480) image sensor, and incorporate I/O, including two opto-isolated digital inputs and two opto-isolated digital outputs. There is also an RS-232 serial port and two Gigabit Ethernet ports that support protocols such as Modbus TCP.

The NI 1742 camera also has a built-in LED lighting driver that provides a constant current of up to 500mA, or a strobe current of up to 1A that can boost the lighting intensity by up to four times.

The new cameras come with interactive software for configuring and deploying machine vision applications without programming. The menu-driven software allows engineers to build complex machine vision applications incorporating not only vision algorithms, but also state-based execution with looping and branching.

For more advanced applications, the cameras also integrate with NIís LabVIEW software and its library of image processing and machine vision algorithms, such as edge detection, pattern matching, 1D and 2D code reading, and optical character recognition.

The NI 1722 camera is priced from £1,299 in the UK, while the NI 1742 starts at £1,599.

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