Sunday, March 22, 2009

Selecting machine vision software

If you need to go beyond what’s possible with smart cameras, or you’re working on multi-camera installations, you may be looking at PC-based machine vision. A market survey will reveal many possible software packages, so how do you decide which way to go?

In “
Machine Vision 101: Simple Software,” (Vision & Sensors mag, Feb 27, 2009,) Ben Dawson of Dalsa discusses some of the factors you should consider. If you read the article you’ll notice that he advises against trying to compare the specific image processing tools and suggests that instead you just look at how easy the package is to use.

I agree with Ben, up to a point. It is very difficult to select the ideal vision software on the basis of a line-by-line comparison. The vendors aren’t dumb; they know better than to highlight a weakness in their product. And secondly, the existence of a tool or function gives no indication of how well it actually works. So how do you choose your software?

I suggest you evaluate software under four main headings: hardware flexibility, pricing and support, ease of use, and tool capabilities. But as I don’t believe in long blog posts (who has time to sit and read a lengthy dissertation?) you’ll have to check back often to hear my thoughts on each of these.

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