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Sensors Beyond Megapixels

4/25/2014 01:55 PM EDT
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junko.yoshida
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The era of machine vision
junko.yoshida   4/25/2014 3:26:34 PM
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I find what machine vision has accomplished over the years astounding. Much of it, of course, has much to do with the advancements of analytic software, but what image sensors are capable of caturing today is also equally amazing.

Now that machine visions are getting gout of a factory floor to a street, I'd say image sensor battle has now well passed the megapixel race.  

Bert22306
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Re: The era of machine vision
Bert22306   4/25/2014 5:04:54 PM
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I think your point about uses being only limited by one's imagination is right on target, Junko.

One application I've wondered about is the supermarket self checkout. Most items you buy have a bar code, so fair enough. But some items, like produce, either have a little sticker-cum-bar code glued on them, or nothing at all. If there is no sticker, the buyer has to search through oodles of strangely organized* pictures on a display, to select the item, before it can be weighed or the quantity entered manually.

Why? We can see it and recognize it, can't we? Why can't the machine do the same?

I think it's revealing to see that license plate and road sign reading software is becoming available. It's an interesting trend. Instead of having to change these legacy systems to make them machine readable, we change the machines to make them capable of reading signs designed for human consumption.

On the megapixels hype, also a good point. The simplest way to describe why is this. The lens focuses the image on the sensor. A cheap or too-small lens often does not have the resolution to make use of a very tight arrangement of pixels in the sensor. Lens blur will not allow much differentiation in the light impacting adjacent pixels, so the beneficial effect of more tightly spaced pixels cannot be exploited. A better lens, and/or a larger image sensor that spreads the pixels apart, is often a more meaningful improvement than just pixel count.

* Are green beans listed under G, or under B? Oddly, sometimes under B (beans, green). Are zucchini listed under z or under s? Oddly, even if they are labeled "squash" on the shelf, they might be listed under z in the checkout machine.

jimfordbroadcom
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Re: The era of machine vision
jimfordbroadcom   4/25/2014 5:30:34 PM
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Not only that, but smaller pixels to achieve those higher pixel counts means less signal and lower signal to noise ratio = lower dynamic range.  That said, I am really impressed with the pictures I can take with my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone!  My wife too, and she's always borrowing it because it takes at least as good pictures as her Fujifilm digital SLR, and much better than her low-end Samsung smartphone.  I'm not so impressed with the low-light capability; no doubt those smaller pixels and the millimeter-sized lens don't help.

Speaking of optical dynamic range, when is somebody going to come up with liquid crystal sunglasses?  Forget the photochromic glasses; they are too slow, they don't get dark enough, and they don't work in the car because they're only sensitive to ultraviolet light, and the window glass blocks UV.  I want glasses with a knob I can turn to darken them when I go outside and lighten them back up when I come inside again.  Don't forget the human in the loop!  Duh!

junko.yoshida
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Re: The era of machine vision
junko.yoshida   4/25/2014 6:10:50 PM
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Bert, you made me laugh when you wrote:

If there is no sticker, the buyer has to search through oodles of strangely organized* pictures on a display, to select the item, before it can be weighed or the quantity entered manually.


When I used to live in France, they, too, made me go through oodles of strangely organized pictures, so that I can put my produce on a scale, weigh it and put a price sticker, and THEN, i can finally bring it to a cashier. The worst shopping experience ever in the French supermarket.  (I can see pictures alright, but if I didn't know the name of produce in French, it took me forever to spot the right picture!)

But at any rate, I had not thought about this in a way you did. (you are smart) Why wouldn't we make a scanner (with an image sensor) that can also actually see and recognize shapes and colors of produce? Certinaly possible, isn't it? 

junko.yoshida
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Re: The era of machine vision
junko.yoshida   4/25/2014 6:19:37 PM
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@jimfordbroadcom, I love your idea about "glasses with a knob I can turn to darken them when I go outside and lighten them back up when I come inside again." That, my friend, is a brilliant idea!

jimfordbroadcom
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Re: The era of machine vision
jimfordbroadcom   4/25/2014 6:56:58 PM
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Vuarnet, Foster Grant, Oakley, etc., are you listening?

prabhakar_deosthali
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prabhakar_deosthali   4/26/2014 8:19:09 AM
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The  overlapped pair of  polarized glasses can do this job faster. You just turn the knob to get 100 % to zero oercent vision

 

Inspection based upon machine vision using optics is quite prevalant in the industry for many decades now and with improved sensors the accuracy of such inspection has increased  many fold

_hm
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CMOS Imagesensor and Image Processor
_hm   4/26/2014 4:12:48 PM
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It will be intereseting to see CMOS image sensor with image processing capability built into it. This can have direct USB type interface with H.268 and beyond output. With this, user needs to do very little selection and employ this device to resolve thier applications. This will be much more helpful to industrial user.

 

_hm
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CMOS Image sensor for endoscopy
_hm   4/26/2014 4:14:47 PM
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Endoscopy needs very high end of CMOS image sensor with faithful reproduction of image in sometime very poor light conditions. These are special applications and some vendor like Sony have upper age.

 

vegatecgroup
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Re: CMOS Image sensor for endoscopy
vegatecgroup   4/27/2014 7:15:26 AM
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currently, there are several manufacturers of chip on a stick technology for endoscopy. Sony is not one of them. However of those few, only one has an actual digital imaging system, the others are analog. Recently a company in the US has introduced a high power illumination system and processing board for intense medical and industrial endoscopy using the digital chip on a stick camera.

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