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Microvision Demos Laser Scanning Camera
Jun 2003
BOTHELL, Wash., Jun 27 -- Microvision Inc. made the first public demonstration of its laser scanning camera at its annual shareholders' meeting this week. The 1.4 megapixel laser scanning camera has recently been used as a test bed to demonstrate the potential of Microvision's scanned beam systems for a variety of applications, including endoscopic imaging and 2-D bar code reading.

Microvision says that because the laser camera actually illuminates its subject by sending a rapidly scanned beam of light out through its aperture, it creates a unique relationship between illumination, aperture and pixel speed that in turn improves a variety of performance characteristics, from motion capture to depth of focus and overall package size. Because the white light is comprised of three colors -- red, green and blue -- it also provides outstanding color fidelity and can be tuned to the right spectral balance for a particular application or image. The image capture technology also offers interesting possibilities for new imaging modalities for electronic cameras for a variety of medical and industrial applications that use alternative wavelengths, such as infrred and ultraviolet, to create "hyperspectral" illumination and fluorescence measurements, the company said.

Test comparisons with a state-of-the-art 2-D bar code imager demonstrated two times the usable depth of field on comparable bar code symbols; more than 30 times more tolerance to movement, providing virtual motion blur immunity; and a better ability to read low contrast images, said Microvision. Taken together, these capabilities provide the potential to enable a 2-D bar code reader as easy to use as today's ubiquitous laser scanners for linear bar codes, with the added advantage of being able to read 2-D codes stamped or etched onto small parts.

In endoscopic applications, comparison tests with industry leading rigid 10 mm endoscopes demonstrated at least comparable resolution, better color fidelity, better distinction and improved uniformity of illumination, according to the company.

Microvision has been working with Canon, BMW, Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon subsidiary and others to develop a number of display and image capture product applications based on its proprietary scanned beam technology. The company also recently concluded a field trial with America Honda Motor Co. for automotive maintenance and repair applications for its Nomad Augmented Display that achieved a 39 percent increase in mechanic productivity. Microvision has also signed an agreement with NCR to market its Flic laser bar code scanner under a private label.

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