Monday, November 17, 2008

Iris gets a boost!

The Iris in question is the “smart” camera from Matrox, and the boost part refers to the fact that in it’s new “GT” incarnation the horsepower is provided by the diminutive Intel Atom ® processor.

Other than being blue, the camera looks very much like the old Insight 5100 series from Cognex - you’ll have to go to the Matrox web site to see a picture – and even uses the same size sensor (1/3”). I have to assume this is a deliberate ploy to position Iris as a direct replacement. Cognex are trying to move their customers over to the new Micro line, which offers excellent performance but in a different form factor to its predecessor. As anyone who’s ever tried to upgrade a “smart” camera-based vision system knows, it’s really nice to stay with the same physical configuration, and Iris GT appears to meet that need.

But when it comes to performance, IRIS GT provides a lot more than the old Insight 5100, and even beats the Micro. For example, in VGA resolution the Micro 1400 delivers 42 fps while Iris will give 110. Likewise, Iris carries far more memory, both volatile and non-volatile, than does the Micro.

So this means you should drop Cognex like a hot brick and rush to buy Matrox Iris cameras, right?

Well hold on. Iris runs the Matrox Design Assistant software package. It looks nice, and assuming it’s based on MIL, it should perform well, but how does it stack up against the highly regarded Cognex algorithms?

Unfortunately, there’s no benchmarking data available – please correct me if you know better – so you’ll just have to beg Matrox for a loan. Let me know how you get on!

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