When only 3D vision will do

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For barcode reading, label verification, and presence detection, traditional 2D machine vision fits the bill. But for increasingly complex imaging applications — especially where greater resolution is needed or where materials that are difficult to image are inspected — 3D imaging offers advantages.

As we learn in this issue’s cover story, “Laser Triangulation Tackles Imaging Tasks Big and Small,” from SICK’s Mattias Johannesson, the electronics industry is a prime example. The trend toward miniaturization in electronics has meant components are half the size they were only a decade ago, putting greater demands on vision systems. In this case, 3D vision — which often involves multiple cameras and laser displacement sensors — vastly outperforms its 2D counterpart.

But implementing 3D vision systems can be a challenge for integrators. There’s often precious little space on the production line to incorporate a separate light source. And 3D cameras often need calibrating, which requires supporting software and calibration targets. Also, the configuration and data formats for 3D systems are typically more complex than those needed for 2D cameras. For more on how to overcome these challenges, and a detailed look at one of the most versatile of the 3D imaging techniques — laser triangulation — turn to Johannesson’s story.

Also in this Vision Spectra, Contributing Editor Hank Hogan takes a close look at vision systems in surveillance and the growing role of artificial intelligence. See “Ever-Vigilant: Machine Learning and AI Move into Surveillance”.

The marriage of machine vision and industrial robotics has ushered in the emergence of smart manufacturing. Renowned machine vision expert David Dechow offers his insights into emerging applications and the ingredients for a successful vision-guided robotics application in “Great Expectations for Vision-Guided Robotics”.

And finally, the secret to ultraprecise object imaging may lie in advancements in engineered point spread function (E-PSF) technology, realized in the form of optical phase plates. “Optical Advancements Enable High-Precision 3D Imaging”.

Published: June 2019

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