Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trends and implications

Always get to the original source,” or so one of my college tutors lectured me. It’s a good policy but I’m going to break it by sharing some hearsay.

I heard recently that the AIA is forecasting 4% growth in the machine vision market for 2013. Of course, when we’re 75% of the way through the year it doesn’t seem too hard to make such a prediction, but leaving that aside, I also heard that unit prices continue to drop by 5 – 10% a year.

It doesn’t take a math post-doc to see that this means unit volumes are growing quite rapidly. I infer from that, that ever more machine vision systems are being deployed. And in addition, as resolutions are going up, the price-per-pixel is dropping fast. (I’m gathering my own data on this and hope to have something to publish quite soon.)

But smaller pixels mean more noise in the image, and smaller cameras, (which seems to be another industry trend,) means heat becomes a bigger issue, and also means more noise.

So I suggest we are approaching an inflexion point at which pixels will stop shrinking. Yet we will want more resolution, so sensors will have to grow. The way I look at it then, cameras will start to get bigger, something else will take over from the C-mount lens format, and prices will begin to rise.

That’s the future I anticipate. What’s your view?

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