Thursday, August 2, 2012

Watching smoke

The “smoke” of my title is actually “laser-induced plasma,” though “smoke seems to describe it better, and the reason for watching it is to monitor a hole drilling process.

On-Line Estimation of Laser-Drilled Hole Depth Using a Machine Vision Method” is a paper published by three researchers at the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology in Taiwan. They were looking for an inexpensive way to monitor the depth of a blind laser-drilled hole.

Their approach is to look at the plasma thrown out of the hole as the laser melts its way down. For this they use a CCD camera and lots of filters, followed by binarization and pixel counting.

The machine vision part isn’t that cutting edge, but I thought it was an interesting application story. I don’t know how big the market might be for laser drilling controllers either, but I feel this should have some commercialization potential.

Over to you, machine vision entrepreneurs.

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