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Photonic Eyes Separate the Wheat from the Chaff

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Barbara Grant, Contributing Editor

Sophisticated machine vision systems, used in industry for a variety of tasks from wafer sorting to component-defect detection, are making inroads into agricultural and food processing applications as well. By performing tasks usually assigned to human inspectors, and by adding value with image analysis and decision-making functions, imaging systems are assuming more prominent roles in controlling the quality of food products delivered to supermarkets and restaurants around the world.
A basic machine vision system comprises an imager, a computer and software algorithms to provide some type of image interpretation or classification of image data. Most systems contain robotics or control system links for integration and operation within a factory environment, and some employ higher-level software for advanced decision-making capabilities.
Beyond their general similarities, however, machine vision systems designed for food and agricultural applications use a range of technologies. Some are custom-built for specific food industry applications, while others feature attributes that allow them to develop market niches outside the food processing industry.

Photonics Spectra
Oct 1998
GLOSSARY
machine vision
Interpretation of an image of an object or scene through the use of optical noncontact sensing mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining information and/or controlling machines or processes.
Featuresmachine vision

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