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Not just a trend

2 Feb 2023 | Reading time: 4 min

Embedded vision systems are on the rise

In computer vision, embedded vision is no longer only a buzzword, but has now established itself in many applications. From quality control in typical industrial applications such as battery inspection and robot-assisted pick-and-place systems, to non-industrial applications in the sports or entertainment sectors—the range of applications for embedded systems is diverse.

Johannes Hiltner, Director Product Management, answered all our questions about this exciting technology and explains why STEMMER IMAGING has now launched its own embedded ecosystem and what makes it so special.

Johannes Hiltner, Director Product Management, STEMMER IMAGING

What sets embedded vision apart from classic PC-based image processing systems?

Today, high-performance vision systems are mostly based on Windows PC technology with one or more cameras. Due to the size and weight of the PC systems, they tend to be mounted centrally sometimes with quite sophisticated and long cable solutions between cameras and computer to transfer the full resolution images at maximum frame rate.

Embedded vision systems can enable a more distributed concept with reduced spatial separation from the cameras where the image data is generated—directly in the machine or the application—due to the compact design, high GPU computing power, efficient LINUX operating system and tailored interfaces. This makes it possible to implement very elegant and cost-effective edge computing solutions for image processing.

How did STEMMER IMAGING come to launch its own embedded product? And what exactly is "STEMMER IMAGING Modular Embedded"?

Embedded vision can be the ideal solution for many applications. And we always want to offer our customers the ideal solution, regardless of the manufacturer. STEMMER IMAGING's goal is to enable developers who choose an embedded solution to integrate embedded vision into their devices easily, quickly, and with flexibility.

STEMMER IMAGING Modular Embedded is a modular ecosystem based on a powerful hardware selection, combined with a wide range of state-of-the-art cameras, the best software tools and individual service packages.

At the heart of this ecosystem is our own carrier board paired with our own generic driver stack. Our ecosystem is the most flexible in the market, easy to integrate and usable in many versatile applications.

Can you describe the board in more detail? What types of cameras can be connected to the board? Through which interfaces?

The board is based on powerful NVIDIA-Jetson hardware and offers plug and play efficiency for rapid development of embedded vision and AI projects. The Tensor Core GPU enables massive AI acceleration. This can significantly improve the performance of machine learning models.

In line with our aim to provide vendor-independent consulting to always find the best solution for the customer, our board can of course also be used independently of camera and software vendor. The full GenICam compatibility allows a comprehensive selection of cameras for all common interfaces like GigE, USB or MIPI without the need for special programming skills.

TCP offload technology for image capture offloads the processor while enabling maximum performance with low power consumption. By the way, our TCP offload implementation is a design submitted for a GigE Vision standard extension and not a proprietary solution.

The board is designed for direct use in serial production and is suitable for high-volume applications, distinguishing itself from other embedded evaluation kits.

In particular, the interfaces are optimized for direct use in machine vision applications. Equipped with enough 10GigE, USB3 and MIPI interfaces to support flexible multi camera configurations, the hardware modules are suitable for use in a wide range of different machine vision applications.

Webinar: A new embedded vision ecosystem

inVision TechTalk Embedded Vision
22 February 2023 | 2 pm
Speaker: Johannes Hiltner
Language: English

Watch the webinar recording >

What are these applications? Can you give examples?

Embedded systems are particularly suitable when the available space is limited, and the weight needs to be minimised. A good example of the advantages of Modular Embedded is quality control for the printing and packaging industry.

High-resolution line scan cameras are usually used for this purpose. A linescan subsystem in Modular Embedded at the camera position decouples the processing system from the acquisition and pre-processing and thus enables significant savings in hardware and allows a more scalable solution, for example.

Many high-precision applications also require multiple cameras to capture images simultaneously and evaluate them in real time or record them for later or time-delayed further processing. Sports tracking is a good example of this where the processing can be localized at the edge in the multi camera head.

Whether factory automation, logistics and traffic, smart agriculture or applications in the field of sports and entertainment—the application areas for embedded systems are extremely diverse and ultimately lie wherever speed and precision are required.

What role does software play in relation to embedded?

The right software is key to any vision system, embedded or otherwise. It should be independent of the hardware platform and operating system, and compatible with common libraries and standards to provide the required flexibility.

Thanks to our in-house software development, the established Common Vision Blox (CVB) software platform and our professional customer support, STEMMER IMAGING are in an excellent position to provide users with the best possible solution on the road to successful application development.

CVB 14, the current version, offers real TCP offload support, seamless image acquisition across cameras from different manufacturers and interfaces and typical edge video pre-processing algorithms such as H.265 conversion.

Modular Embedded also relies on CVB. GPU-accelerated algorithms for local preprocessing and data reduction are the perfect foundation for building complex applications with the highest reliability and performance, both in prototyping and volume production. Application-specific custom algorithms can also be integrated via 3rd party software.

CVB is an open software providing the missing link between the camera technology and the customer algorithms on embedded independent of interface, manufacture and algorithm toolset.

In addition to the carrier board and the software tools, Modular Embedded also includes various services. Which services are involved?

We see ourselves as a reliable, flexible partner for our customers. For 35 years, we have been supplying our customers not only with machine vision products, but also with complete systems—all from a single source! Modular Embedded is no different.

Our comprehensive flexible service packages range from technical services such as feasibility studies or software development and consulting along with the appropriate product selection, via manufacturing services such as system configuration, hardware assembly and software installation, through to logistics services such as warranty extensions, secure inventory and customer branded shipping. Customers thus benefit from calculatable costs, maximum transparency while receiving an uncomplicated complete solution for their needs.

Where do you think the future development will go?

Due to the continuous progress in hardware and software, computing power will continue to become more powerful, cheaper, more energy-efficient and smaller. As a result, more pre-processing will be done "at the edge", i.e. local to the camera. In addition, the transfer of compressed images within facilities and storage in the cloud is becoming increasingly important.

Our task is to identify such technological developments at an early stage and, as we have with Modular Embedded System, to develop the optimum product offering. For us, the focus is on the customer. We see a strong trend toward high-end and high-resolution applications, for which our powerful edge-computing offering represents high added value.

STEMMER IMAGING Embedded Vision Labs​
15-03-2023 | 17.30-22 h | Nuremberg

Discover a wide range of applications that innovative embedded vision technology can deliver with maximum simplicity, flexibility and performance at our first edition of the Embedded Vision Labs event.

Register now >

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