Monday, May 28, 2012

The Robonaut uses Halcon

Last week I posed a question: “What can you do with Halcon?” A day later I picked up the latest issue of Photonics Spectra and learnt that NASA and GM have teamed up to find out what Halcon can do in space.

Vision Software Enables NASA Robonaut to See” (May 2012,) discusses how Halcon is being put to work on the Space Station. In particular, NASA is using its 3D stereoscopic capabilities in a number of applications.

I’m not sure what this tells us about the more terrestrial, and more industrial, applications of Halcon, but there is one thing I find interesting. Why did the team choose a German software product over say National Instruments or Cognex?

I think we can be pretty sure that the decision came after a very thorough evaluation process, so I have to conclude that Halcon is indeed an extremely capable product. If it’s good enough for the Robonaut, perhaps it’s good enough for you.

I do however question the wisdom of putting software called HAL – con in space. Are the people at NASA too young to have seen 2001?

I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”


Anonymous said...

As far as I know, Vision Pro lacks 3D features compared to Halcon.

B Grey said...

I know VisionPro has some 3D capability for tasks like robot guidance, but I can't say how they compare with those of Halcon. Would anyone care to comment?

Anonymous said...

Based on their marketing material and webinar, VisionPro has some tools for calibration and simple stereo vision (find object in two images and calculate 3D position).

Halcon has, based on webpages and short visit at exhibition stand, a lot more 3D features, including calculating 3D point cloud from stereo cameras (almost?) real time, 3D matching tools etc.

Compare brochures:

Anonymous said...

I would say the amount of 3D tasks you can solve with Halcon is far bigger than what is possible with Vision Pro. Take a look at
It talks about all the 3D tasks Halcon is capable of solving (and it's in English). I was also told that Halcon 11, which should be released in a few days (as far as I know) will have even more stuff, like point cloud registration and 3D surface comparison.
As for the robonaut, although I don't know for sure, I would not be surprised if it uses stereo vision under its helmet, since that is what many other service robot developers seem to be going for. And Halcon supports 3D stereo vision, while (as far as I know) Vision Pro does not... So maybe that is another reason?

J Campbell - sales manager at MVTec, LLC said...

HALCON 11 will be released on Friday, June 1st. A free demo version will be available then from our website.

Information on new features and enhancements in HALCON 11 is available here:

HALCON is generations ahead of VisionPro and most other (if not all)standard machine vision software libraries in terms of 3D Vision technology. HALCON offers 3D camera calibrations, 3d reconstruction techniques, point cloud registration, point cloud processing (think 3D blob analysis), 3D point cloud matching, and point cloud comparison features. HALCON also supports multiple 3D sensor types. VisionPro (to my knowledge) offers 3D pose information based on matching of 2D patterns or shapes and triangulation of their positions, and perhaps a few other capabilities that HALCON has offered for several years.