Chapter 8Camera Computer Interfaces

Nate Holmes

National Instruments, 11500 N. Mopac Expwy., Austin TX 78759, USA

8.1 Overview

Machine vision acquisition architectures come in many different forms, but they all have the same end goal. That goal is to get image data from a physical sensor into a processing unit that can process the image and initiate an action. This goal is the same for personal computer (PC)-based machine vision systems, embedded compact vision systems, and smart cameras.

All physical architectures have the same starting point and ending point: you have a sensor on one end and a processing unit on the other.

The focus of this chapter is on the camera bus, the interface device, the computer bus, and the driver software. When designing your machine vision system, you will need to make decisions and tradeoffs based on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these components.

The camera bus section discusses the most popular mechanisms for getting data from a camera to the interface device. Each camera bus has its own strengths and weaknesses. The section explores the very different approaches used in machine vision, and the evolution from the analog approach to vision-specific digital buses to leveraging cost-effective commercial digital buses.

The interface device connects the camera bus and the computer bus. The interface device is necessary because the camera does not directly output data in the same format that the computer uses internally. Even if the camera ...

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