With a simple yet robust design, smart cameras or smart sensors are paving their way into the machine vision technology. These rugged cameras combine lenses, embedded sensors, processors, interfaces, and software in one individual vision system. Their exceptional processing capabilities enable them to boost image processing speeds as fast as a computer-based system, which employs a conventional camera. Also, these smart cameras are easy to set up compared to the computer-based systems as they incorporate imaging and processing technologies into a single module. With these many advantages, smart cameras have become an imperative part of the machine vision technology.
Smart cameras are not only faster than a computer-based system but can also be mounted in confined and narrow spaces. This facilitates the use of smart cameras in the assembly line of an automotive industry or within the manufacturing equipment used for the inspection of machinery and its other parts. In the automotive industry, smart cameras serve best for the inspection of distributed point procession applications. Similarly, in the medical device manufacturing industry, smart cameras are incorporated with machine vision solutions along with laboratory testing equipment as they can be pinned without the need for an external processing unit. Smart cameras are also used in the retail industry for barcode reading and identification. They can scan a barcode and verify whether it has been applied to the right product, or if the code contains the correct data. The processor of a smart camera can also be used to execute programs used in identification algorithms to verify a person’s identity or track his location. The technology used in the smart camera is also applied to the biometric recognition systems.
Besides transforming the machine vision technology, smart cameras are also adapting to the current improvements in CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) imagers and digital media processing chips. Adaption of these two technologies has the kept the dimensions of the smart cameras small while dramatically boosting their processing speed. As a result, smart cameras are tipped to be the future of industrial automation and machine vision technology.