Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to master the basics of machine vision

Probably because I consistently appear on the first page of Google’s results for “machine vision”, (yes, that is a hint of smugness,) many readers come here to learn about our favorite technology.

The best way to learn is, in my not very humble opinion, by doing. In other words, grab a camera and some lights and see what you can do. But recognizing that kind of exploration can be a slow process, you might be interested in viewing some videos.

I’ve found Cognex has some good machine vision basics training info. It’s downloadable, so you can watch it at your leisure, and it’s uncommercial, meaning no plugging of Cognex products. Some of the material is getting a little dated, but the laws of physics haven’t changed lately, so it’s still relevant.

Microscan is another machine vision company that provides good educational videos. I particularly like their three part “Introduction to Machine Vision” series, which does exactly what it says.

Watch the videos, but then get hands-on. Grab some lights and a camera – you don’t need fancy gear: a webcam and flashlight will let you get started – and see what you can do with the parts you deal with every day.

Even if you think you know it all, (and I know I don’t,) it still doesn’t hurt to get a refresher in the basics. It might even prompt a few ideas for solving your latest application challenge.

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