3D imaging continues to gain traction in vision applications


3D machine vision imaging is increasingly having a major impact in a wide range of industries and applications from volumetric measurements to inspection for packaging to robot vision. We have seen several indicators of these interest levels.

The seminar theatre at last year’s UKIVA Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition dedicated to 3D imaging was by far and away the best attended throughout the day, while ‘3D Machine Vision’ is the most visited page in the ‘What is Vision?’ section of the UKIVA website. There have been a number of recent developments which have increased the range of 3D applications that are possible, while simplifying the use of the technique.

New 3D imaging developments

With a number of different 3D imaging techniques available, including laser profiling, stereo imaging, fringe projection and time of flight, there is plenty of opportunity for technological developments. Since 3D imaging is computationally intensive, developments in processing power allow more complex measurements to be made more quickly and this has been accompanied by software improvements that have enhanced robustness and made different software products much easier and intuitive to use. Camera developments have included the emergence of higher resolution stereo cameras with increased baselines allowing a range of working distances and angles for the imaging larger objects, such as whole pallets or entire rooms. The range of applications includes anything from bin picking to warehouse and logistics automation. Accompanying this have been improvements in the laser projection systems to enable the capture of images from surfaces that have almost no texture at all. In a different approach to stereo imaging, a new development for applications such as ID tracking, object tracking, height measurement and object counting utilises a single colour or monochrome camera. A clever mirror design that focuses on a user specified working distance allows two virtual 3D cameras to be created using a single camera. This system allows the acquisition of both 2D and 3D images. Another interesting development has been the introduction of a new technology from Intel that opens up the use of 3D imaging to high volume embedded applications.  It utlises proven depth sensor technology and includes a range of cameras and board level modules with depth computation via a next generation ASIC. It will have many applications in a wide variety of industries including retail, robotics and drones. Many UKIVA members are involved in the supply of 3D imaging components and systems.

3D imaging seminar theatre at 2018 Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition

The 2018 UKIVA Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition will again feature a seminar theatre dedicated to 3D imaging technology and applications. Last year there were 8 presentations dedicated to the subject. These included a look at the practical use of 3D imaging in the food, beverage and agriculture sectors, as well as more general technology overviews. These addressed issues such as the use of 3D vision in guided robots, simple 3D sensor integration, and how to build high-speed 3D profiling solutions. Registration is now open for the 2018 event (www.machinevisionconference.co.uk/delegate-registration), which will take pace at ArenaMK, Milton Keynes, UK on Wednesday 16th May 2018.



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