Thursday, January 19, 2012

Open source machine vision software?

We know there are are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Well there’s a machine vision equivalent: software is complex and expensive. For better or worse, that whole open-source, shareware thing doesn’t seem to have penetrated our specialist world. But there are signs of change upon the horizon.

SimpleCV “is a Python interface” from Ingenuitas that purports to be not only simple, but free. I swapped emails recently with one of the brains behind Ingenuitas to find out more. Here’s what Nate Oostendorp had to say:

“…I was curious about machine vision and what the state of the art was, and I started looking around at Open Source software for doing machine vision programming.  OpenCV seemed to be the defacto choice for doing vision work, but the learning curve for it was very high -- particularly for myself, who hasn't had any formal training in machine vision -- just experience from the practitioner side.  Any time I saw methods described with equations or algorithms referred to by their discoverer -- rather than what they do -- i found it really pretty difficult to pick up and use, starting from scratch.

“So my co-founders and I formed Ingenuitas
[and] started building SimpleCV, with the goal of providing a framework for vision applications -- in the same milieu as Rails or all the frameworks that are out there for the web.  A set of tools to get started quickly, write as little code as possible, and make the simple stuff really really easy.

“We're working now on version 1.3, and planning for what is going to go into 2.0 -- we're also building an Open Source web-based GUI for machine vision called SimpleSeer.  Our goal is to make setting up a vision appliance as easy as possible and letting people use the type of commodity equipment (DSLR cameras, webcams, Kinects) that they're already comfortable with.  The sensors are out there, and computers have gotten (and will continue to get) faster and cheaper -- we're hoping we're the glue that can bring these things together and make cameras useful for as many things as possible.”

So that’s what SimpleCV is all about. If it lives up to its promise it could be something of a paradigm shift, but first I think we need to wait for the next release. Hopefully, I’ll have news on that soon, so keep checking back.

1 comment:

Fanis said...

Very interesting!
Do you have any update for this?