Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cognex responds

If you read my previous post, Cognex results for Q3 2011, you'll recall that I was a little scathing about how they spend their R&D dollars.

Well it seems my post caught the eye of someone in Natick, because an anonymous commenter, (Dr. Bob perhaps?) wrote to say that the fine men and women of Cognex have not been "sitting on their haunches" and have in fact been very busy improving the Dataman code readers.

Actually I did know that, but I decided not to let a few facts get in the way of a good poke. And, to be honest, while code-reading is technically machine vision, it's not the kind of machine vision I'm really interested in. What I'd like to see are smart cameras with liquid lenses and even smarter defect detection algorithmns. After all, Keyence are working hard on those kinds of innovations, and they clearly have Cognex in their sights.

Those Natick haunches are clearly not being sat upon, but at the same time, they should look to their laurels. (How's that for a mixed metaphor?) Didn't some business guru say every business should be trying to obsolete itself?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here: I am not Dr. Bob nor am I employed by Cognex, but I do use their products.

I read your blog daily and find it very informative. I also appreciate the possibility for an open forum.

I agree that companies should strive to make their products better, more powerful and easier to use; look at the explosion of Apple in the past decade. I also think that we, as consumers of those products, should ask for those improvements and expect them to be provided. I think Cognex does that.

I took no offense at the "poke" at Cognex and only responded in the hopes of informing. While code reading isn't the interesting aspect of machine vision it is an important part of industry and Cognex is still a business. If there is money to be made and they have a legitimate product to offer, they would be silly not to promote it and make money from it.

You mention smarter defect detection algorithms and in fact Cognex has added that to their In-Sight software. They have expanded on the DVT legacy Flexible Flaw Detection tool, and with the power of PatMax behind it, the tool has real power. Their InspectEdge tools offer a powerful method of inspecting (not just detecting) edges for a wide variety of applications that are important to an even wider variety of customers.

Don't assume that liquid lenses aren't on their road map for smart cameras. Liquid lenses are limited in ability however and I believe the technology will need to improve to equal what is available from fixed focal length lenses for image quality. Liquid lenses certainly have their place and I also believe the technology will advance as they become more pervasive in the industry.

Thanks for the opportunity to spout off and keep poking; that is the only way we have to influence the industry from which we make our living.