Saturday, April 4, 2015

Halcon for dummies?

Power, or so we are told, is an aphrodisiac. If so, that would explain why many machine vision professionals are so drawn to Halcon. While some, (mostly those in Natick,) will argue VisionPro is at least comparable, there’s no dispute that Halcon is one of the most powerful vision tool libraries.

It’s also rather hard to use. It needs C programming skills combined with a deep understanding of machine vision algorithms, and that puts it out of reach for many of us. And then, late in 2014 MVTec started promoting a product called Merlic.

While it’s a simplification to call it ‘programming-free Halcon’ it is built on a subset of the underlying tools. That should, in principle anyway, make it rather attractive for those of us not so skilled in advanced coding, which is why I was eager to take a look.

I think pretty much everyone treated to a preview came to the same conclusion: like a High School football player, it had potential, but really needed development.

Well it seems MVTec listened to the feedback and are making changes. The official launch is now planned for June 1st 2015 (so they still have time to test and implement bug-fixes.) There’s no word on pricing, but I figure if I can save $1,500 a month between now and then I should have enough in my piggybank to buy a copy.

There is however one claim in the press release that grates. “users will be able to create machine vision solutions quickly without any knowledge of imaging technology…”.

I’m sorry but I find that hard to believe. Surely any user needs to know how to get an image. Isn’t that one of the most basic skills?

But that gripe aside (and I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t gripe,) Merlic promises to be one of the most interesting new products of 2015. Join me in taking a look when it goes on sale.


grilo said...

"It needs C programming skills combined with a deep understanding of machine vision algorithms"

FYI I used VB6 for GUI and "export" feature to port HDevelop code into VB6 code. I have no idea how morphology work and many more ideas in image processing. But still...

Have you ever try using Halcon before?

B Grey said...

I'll be honest, no I have never tried. I've always been intimidated by its apparent complexity. But maybe I should.