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  • Photonics and Food: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2000
Daniel C. McCarthy, Senior News Editor

With advanced camera technology, faster processors and robust software, machine vision not only helps automate cookie production, but also can help soften the stamp of a factory line to produce a commodity appearing as coarse and genuine as the cookies mailed in a shoe box from home. Laser diodes contribute to accurate yet flexible inspection systems, as illustrated by solutions to a hypothetical cookie application fielded by three vision integrators.

Svep Design Center AB in Lund, Sweden, suggested laser projection combined with a single complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) detector capable of on-chip processing. Svep's system delivers three images for computer analysis: a visual image, a topographic image and an image based on reflected laser light.

Intelligent Automation Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., also suggested that our cookie manufacturer use laser projection, but with the support of multiple CCDs. Its proposed system provides comprehensive information about each cookie based on both two- and three-dimensional images.

The solution proposed by Integral Vision of Farmington Hills, Mich., relies heavily on the company's Common Vision Blox software to analyze color images from a progressive-scan camera. Integral Vision weighed the use of filters against using a laser stripe to screen cookies for the proper height.

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