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Industrial Photonics
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EDITORIAL COMMENT
Latest Issue
Apr 2018

The Third Dimension

MARCIA STAMELL, ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR, marcia.stamell @photonics.com
In our cover story this issue, Contributing Editor Hank Hogan looks at various implementations of 3D vision for automation. Both the hardware and software for the technology have dropped in price and improved in capability, he writes, hastening the day when more companies will take advantage of 3D’s high-information yield. This is opening up new uses for 3D, such as bin picking, high-speed quality control, and managing robot-human interaction. “Improving Automation with 3D Vision” (read article).

The use of 3D optical vision systems also is the subject of an article by Howard Chung, Pia Böttcher, and Erik Klaas of 8tree. The article focuses on a single task: improving the efficiency and information yield of aircraft dent inspection. The way to achieve an easy-to-use and cost-effective machine vision tool for this task, the authors write, is to move away from traditional 3D optical metrology equipment. What works is equipment designed to solve only one clearly defined problem, instead of making a tool that addresses a vast array of surface measurement tasks. It also helps to pay careful attention to the user-friendliness of the computer-human interaction. “Application-Specific Machine Vision Simplifies Aircraft Maintenance” (read article).

Elsewhere in the magazine

• Nora Bereczki of Optoforce describes one accessory that can expand a robot’s sense of touch, making it capable of tasks that typically require the dexterity of the human hand. Robot-mounted force sensors can automate assembly tasks that require high precision, such as pin insertion in automotive assembly. This can allow companies to automate monotonous, repetitive work for which human labor is hard to find. “Force/Torque Sensors Expand Robotic Capabilities” (read article).

• Adam Stern of Resonon writes about the use of hyperspectral vision systems to sort items with differences in color or appearance that are not readily discernible by the human eye. A combination of spectroscopy and imaging, hyperspectral imaging provides both spatial and spectral information. The resulting data, he writes, yields faster and more accurate results than human sorting and can provide more reliable classifications than conventional vision systems. “Hyperspectral Machine Vision Enables Smart Automation” (read article).

• Matt Pinter of Smart Vision Lights offers a Picks column about choosing the best illumination source for a machine vision application. In this, the choice of wavelength and lighting configuration often goes hand in hand, he says. But understanding how the electromagnetic spectrum interfaces with a specific product also provides critical information. “Understanding machine vision illumination” (read article).

Enjoy the issue.
Mike Wheeler
An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, Managing Editor Michael D. Wheeler oversees editorial content for Photonics Spectra, EuroPhotonics, BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics magazines.
Marcia Stamell
Associate Managing Editor Marcia Stamell is the editor of BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics. She has worked for general interest newspapers, the business press and national magazines as a writer and editor.
Justine Murphy
Senior Editor Justine Murphy is an award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. She serves as editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics, host of the Light Matters newscast, and producer of podcasts.
 
Autum Pylant
News Editor Autum C. Pylant is an Air Force Veteran with 10+ years of award-winning broadcast journalism experience. She is responsible for the steady flow of news and new product announcements to web and print and is the producer of the Light Matters video newscast.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
Karen Newman
Karen Newman, Publisher/Books & Courses for Photonics Media Press, has had a career in business-to-business and association publishing, much of it spent covering technical, scientific and life sciences subjects.
 
Hank Hogan
Contributing editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Hogan worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing editor Marie Freebody is a free-lance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
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