It makes sense that medical would be a great growth area for this technology, given the fact that handling is an issue for many medical parts. With cost coming down and electronic performance rising, though, it's natural that it would find new applications in a variety of other industries, such as aerospace and defense.
Yes, machine vision is extremely rugged hardware compared to even consumer equipment, which is one of several reasons it's always been a lot more expensive. That's started to change recently with the use of more open platforms, but it's still got to be highly durable.
I visited a production line yesterday at a plant that does a lot of precision assembly using adhesives and laminates, and machine vision is utilized heavily to ensure quality (check tolerances, etc.) I was particularly struck by how robust the MV equipment has to be to handle the production rate, temp, vibration, etc. A tall order for such precision equipment.
Interesting that technology that started out in medical equipment and made its way to manufacturing is now being tapped to improve the quality of manufacturing that equipment. Another great example of how technology travels full circle. Given the amount of imaging that's utilized in medical equipment, it stands to reason there's much more opportunity to apply machine vision equipment for garnering efficiencies and working out quality kinks on the production floor.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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