3D machine Vision is a great application to Industrial Automation, although untill the 3D machine Vision is really robust and more reliable in terms of safety then the mechanical safety devices, I guess many comapnies will be ruluctent to this advancement. In Industry a smooth and reliable operation is of prime importance, gesture control and other vision applications have to be highly processed and robust to come up to the industry standards.
From the article, the main benefit of using time-of-flight technology is that post processing is not required to calculate depth which reduces system latency. This would suggest to me that system response time could be improved, possibly resulting in a faster acting system (that could also be used to improve safety response time).
There are many arguments in favor of industrial automation but, to me, none is more convincing than the significant reduction of health risks which automation provides. The combination and use of 3D imaging together with modern robotics will cut down the risks of injuries even further and probably end them altogether. So thanks for this piece Dan.
Having developed two stereo camera systems, mechanical accuracy does not necessarily need to be held to tolerances stated in the article. Both systems I worked on were assembled, and calibrated as part of system testing. Calibration was done using mechanically precise target (grid of lines) at known distances. The beauty of this method was that mechanical precision was not required making for lower cost, and other effects such as radial distortion in the lens could also be accounted for. Both stereo cameras can be seen at foresightsports.com. The club head measurement device is very similar to the Kinect.
Thanks for this thorough article on the rise of 3D machine vision in automated manufacturing. As someone who used to cover machine vision before coming to DN, I saw just the cusp of this trend beginning. Interesting to see how it's playing out.
Here is one more example of the factory as a video game. I believe this trend will draw young engineers into industrial automation. Factories are no longer dirty, dark, loud, and grimy. They're now clean, smart, quiet, and high tech.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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