Alacron and FastVision's FC 300 Camera good for retinal study and diagnostics

Posted by: Site Administrator on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

FastVision's new FC 300 might be useful for ophthalmologists, with output similar to Optical Coherence Tomography. The FC 300 is a camera that can capture repetitive images of the retina in a low-light situation. FastVision's new camera offers low noise, and a frame rate allowing the possible acquisition of 1000 windows of interest per second.

In the wake of the TSA shooting, along with security challenges, robotics and machine vision for image capture for retinal study is also being considered for airport security. Click HERE to see a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Excerpt from this story: "Ultimately, the technology could "get rid of the boarding pass completely," with fliers' faces serving as their tickets, said Michael Ibbitson, chief information officer of London Gatwick Airport...." The fliers scanned their irises when checking in, enabling cameras at security checkpoints and boarding gates to automatically recognize them. "We're only just starting to see what biometrics can do," he said."

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Blockbuster Movie GRAVITY Made Using Machine Vision & Industrial Roboticcs

Posted by: Site Administrator on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (2)

Alacron's technology was not used for the Hollywood blockbuster movie GRAVITY, but is a great illustration of how Alacron's Machine Vision is used in industry, combining robotics and imaging, not unlike much of the image gathering done by NASA in Outer Space.

Click HERE to read the article in Vision Systems Design (VSD) Magazine about the making of the movie. Here is an excerpt from this article, by VSD Sr. Web Editor, James Carroll:

" Current Hollywood blockbuster Gravity, stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as surviving astronauts from a damaged space shuttle. The movie, which is receiving universal acclaim, required the invention of a new set of tools in order to create the film, according to director Alfonso Cuarón, since it depends almost entirely on computer-generated animation. Another aspect of the film was the accurate, or at least realistic-looking, depiction of space weightlessness.

Enter the robots.

Cuarón and team contacted a company out of San Francisco called Bot & Dolly, which redeployed robotic arms originally designed for factory automation assembly line tasks such as automotive welding and painting. The robots, called IRIS, wielded cameras, lights, props, and Clooney and Bullock themselves, throughout the filming process. These reliable, “robotic cameramen” enabled the crew to surpass previous motion-control setups, which did not have the consistency or ease of use of the robots, according to Popular Mechanics. Autodesk’s Maya animation software was used to control the robots, and a custom computer interface translated the previsualized CG animation shots into physical camera moves on the set that captured the actor’s faces in the proper alignment.....

Factory automation meets Hollywood; who would have known?"

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CEO Joseph Sgro: Background as Neurologist Provides Leadership in Cameras, Framegrabbers, and BSI

Posted by: Site Administrator on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Excerpts from Wikipedia:

While researching mathematical logic, [Dr. Joeseph] Sgro became interested in investigating the logic systems that the brain uses to process motor and sensory information, and returned to school, intending to study clinical neurophysiology, the branch of neurology and physiology that examines the functioning of the peripheral and central nervous system.

Neurophysiological research typically uses imaging tools for visualizing chemical and electrical activity in nerve pathways, and today includes fMRI, electroencephalography (EEG), evoked potentials (EPs), TMS and other technologies to visualize and evaluate brain activity....While working as a neurology researcher, Sgro focused increasingly on the use of imaging and machine vision technologies to acquire graphical imagery measuring the operation of neurological function in various states of consciousness and disease.

...While conducting research into the (afferent) sensory nervous system with evoked potentials, Sgro also began to investigate devices and techniques to determine the state of the (efferent) motor nervous system )using trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The theoretical design results of a high-strenght rapid magnetic stimulator design is summarized in.[25] Achieving more effective detection and treatment of sub-clinical diseases involved increasingly intensive intra-operative patient monitoring. This research and the resulting findings stimulated Sgro’s interest in machine vision, specifically the use of frame grabbers to monitor neurological impulses during complex surgery.

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DISAMBIGUATION: Increasingly important as Esoteric Machine Vision Terms Collide with Other Markets

Posted by: Site Administrator on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Whether researching computer speeds, (a.k.a. hertz, as in megahertz) in Wikipedia or shopping for framegrabbers on Google, "disambiguation" is increasingly relevant to modern life on the Internet.  "Disamgibuation" is growing in importance in this age of colliding markets. My favorite example is the acronym R.O.I. For most of the world this means Return on Investment. BUT in the esoteric world of Machine Vision, ROI means Region of Interest! (i.e. a robotic "eye" only focuses on a very small ROI).  Wikipedia has a whole page of tips and techniques to avoid disambiguation in your articles. But CLICK HERE to see a humorou video -- one of the best illustrations of non-technical men struggling with disambiguation.

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CEO Joseph Sgro: Math Background Provides Leadership in Cameras, Framegrabbers, and BSI

Posted by: Site Administrator on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

From Wikipedia:

"During his first year as a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin, Sgro proved that a topological extension of first-order logic using the open set logic quantifier has logical completeness, which had previously been widely believed but had not been proven. Sgro’s proof drew attention throughout mathematical world, and, in 1974, a year before finishing his PhD, he was awarded an appointment as a Josiah Willard Gibbs Instructor in Mathematics at Yale University, received an NSF research grant to continue his work in topological model theory.[3] Yale allowed him to accept this honor while remotely completing his thesis and dissertation at Wisconsin, which he did in 1975. His conclusions regarding the topological model theory formed the basis of his PhD thesis and dissertation. During the 1976-1977 academic year Sgro received a Centennial Fellowship[4] from the AMS. His work also resulted in an invitation to speak at the Logica Colloquim ’77 European Meeting of the Association for Symbolic Logic. This event was held in Wrocław, Poland, which was then still part of the Eastern Bloc, making Sgro among the first mathematicians from the West to speak at an event “behind the Iron Curtain.”[5] Sgro also spent 1977-1978 at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.[6]

Published in 1977, Sgro’s thesis “Completeness Theorems for Topological Models”[7] and extensions of this research including the axiomatization and completeness of continuous functions on product topology open set quantifiers was published in 1976 in the Israel Journal of Mathematics.[8] Following these results, Sgro published a proof that an extension of the open set quantifier logic using interior operator quantifier logic has completeness and satisfies Craig interpolation.[9] He further showed that the Souslin-Kleene closure [10] of the open set quantifier logic fails Craig Interpolation which implies that it is strictly weaker than the interior operator logic.[11] His later research concentrated on proving the existance of maximal extensions of first order logic which satisfy Łoś's theorem on ultraproducts and have the Souslin-Kleene property.[12] Also this was extended to ultraproduct extensions of first order logic which satisfied both the Łoś's theorem and an extended form of the compactness theorem.[13]

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Cameras, Frame Grabbers, and Image Analytics: Increasing Applications in Sports

Posted by: Site Administrator on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

While our machine vision technology is used primarily for robotic and automated applications in the fields of medical, military and manufacturing, as well as in situations involving DUV or low light situations (such as outer space exploration and inner space -- or Quantum particle -- analysis -- via our new backside imager), Alacron and FastVision are approached with increasing frequency by those wanting to use machine vision and stop-action analysis in various sports.  For instance, the crash analysis experts at NASCAR HQ, and other sports organizations, such as those who do golf swing analysis are very interested in leveraging the new digital imaging and frame grabber technologies along with analytical software. 

Click HERE to see an interesting application of image capture and analysis applied to an Olympic show jumping equestrian.

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Medical Machine Vision Cameras: Make Sure the Cure Isn't Worse than the Disease

Posted by: Site Administrator on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

From dotMED Daily News: "GE Healthcare issued a warning to customers about its nuclear medicine imaging systems after a patient at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, died on June 5 from injuries sustained while being scanned with GE's Infinia Hawkeye 4 SPECT/CT." [Click HERE for the Source Article by Loren Bonner.]

Whether nuclear imaging or backscatter 3D X-rays, machine vision manufacturers must maintain a delicate balance between minimizing patient exposure and, at the same time, optimizing the image quality or treating a tumor.

In Dec. 2011, an article by AIA (Advanced Imaging Association) writer Winn Hardin was published with the title "Making Sure the Cure Isn't Worse than the Disease." [Click HERE for the full article].  The topic was the use of machine vision driven X-Rays for the treatment of tumors and the dangers of harming healthy tissues, and the importance of accuracy and balancing the need for lowest exposure with highest quality picture.  The article notes that, in addition to treating cancer, x-rays (specifically back-scatter  and machine vision, "backscatter 3D x-ray systems are one of the newest, most wide-spread security measures used in US airports." 

Not unlike nuclear medicine imaging systems -- whether used in hospitals or airports -- the goal is to minimize the exposure to poweful X-rays. "The lower the x-ray dose, the better off the patient is. Of course, the lower the x-ray dose, the noisier the image is, which makes signal processing even tougher."

Alacron founder and CEO Dr. Joseph Sgro was interviewed for this article.  Sgro's background as a medical doctor proves to be a plus in the development of "safe" cameras and boards when used in such applications. 

As quoted in this AIA article: “Our products find their way into all three industries: medical, security, and reverse engineering,” explains Joe Sgro, CEO of Alacron, Inc. (Nashua, New Hampshire), designer and manufacturer of high-performance frame grabbers and vision processors. “Each of these x-ray systems can use all the processing power you can throw at them because they tend to be non-standard size images at high resolutions, high frame rates, and high data rates. And of course, x-rays are very low signal strength compared to the associated noise, so it takes a significant signal preprocessing to get a high-quality image.”

The article concludes: "Frame grabber and x-ray system designers can expect to continue to obtain support for improved sensor designs while striving to keep up with high dynamic range images with larger pixel counts. Next generation CMOS imagers with extremely low dark noise, and single-digit electron noise will make detecting a low-energy x-ray signal easier. But it will take the combined effort of sensors, processing power, and software designers to keep up with the growing utility and demands of x-ray imaging systems."

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EE|Times Article: PCIe Tackles Connectivity to Mobile and Open Standard Alternative to Thunderbolt

Posted by: Site Administrator on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

The June 26, 2013 Edition of EE|Times has an update and slide show on the PCIe conference that features a spec done for a mobile interconnect that will pack PCI Express into smartphones and tablets.  Here's an excerpt from the article by Rick Merritt (click HERE for the full article):

"The spec is done for a mobile interconnect that will pack PCI Express into smartphones and tablets. Cadence and Synopsys showed working silicon for the M-PCIe interface at the annual meeting of the PCI Special Interest Group here.

The spec lets PCIe protocols ride the M-PHY defined by the MIPI trade group and already widely used in mobile devices. OEMs will adopt the interface to lower costs and shrink development times by reusing PCIe software to replace a wide variety of mobile interconnect protocols.

Separately, the PCI SIG expects to finish work before June 2014 on OcuLink, a 32 Gbit/second cabled version of PCIe. It aims to deliver more bandwidth than the rival Thunderbolt interconnect backed by Apple and Intel at “orders of magnitude lower cost,” said Ramin Neshanti, marketing workgroup chair of the PCI SIG.

In addition, the group announced progress on its Gen 4.0 spec, expected to be the last turn of the crank for copper in pcb interconnects. It will support 16 GTransfers/second and be complete in early 2016.

The SIG also detailed a handful of enhancements to the 8GT/s Gen 3 spec and a new form factor for mobile devices called M.2 that aims to replace mini-PCIe cards."


THE COMPLETE ARTICLE FEATURES AN 8 PART SLIDE SHOW, with photos and diagrams.  One photo illustrates the miniature scale of Aletra and Xilnx FPGA boards supporting PC13 Gen2.

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Image Gathering Can be Fun

Posted by: Site Administrator on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Click HERE to see a great example of Machine Vision applied to a common "motor skills" game, where the user maneuvers a marble through a maze full of holes.  FastVision traditionally works on more "serious" applications.  Our cameras are found in such locations as Post Doc research labs to manufacturing shop floors and surgery rooms.  But, by studying this simplified application, the viewer can understand how a robotic device could perform better and more accurately than the human hand/eye coordination.  Add sensor technology to the high speed analysis of visual images dictating robotic responses, and the possibilities are endless.  An example of sensor technology in this same "Marble Navigation Box" application would be if the floor of the box had sensors in it.  As the marble progressed through the maze, the sensors could be programmed to signal the knobs to turn appropriately to help the marble avoid falling through the holes.

OR....the sensors could trigger "blocks" to pop up, or the holes to close up.  But, then, that would be cheating. 

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