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NI Bolsters Machine Vision Leadership with Adoption of GigE Vision Standard

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National Instruments extends its machine vision market leadership by today announcing its adoption of the new Automated Imaging Association (AIA) standard for Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) Vision. A longtime leader in end-user vision systems, NI now adds support for GigE Vision cameras to its existing image acquisition software. With NI Vision Acquisition software, engineers can acquire images from thousands of different cameras and seamlessly move between standard vision buses including IEEE 1394a, IEEE 1394b, Camera Link and analog.

National Instruments, in cooperation with more than a dozen other machine vision companies, helped define and develop the GigE Vision standard. This firsthand knowledge translates into a highly optimized and easy-to-use software package. "In my experience, National Instruments vision software provides both high performance and ease of use," says Fritz Dierks, head of Component Software Development at Basler Vision Technologies. "Adding support for GigE Vision ensures that National Instruments image acquisition software and hardware will continue to work with the most cutting-edge cameras available today."

Using NI Vision Acquisition software and GigE Vision cameras, engineers can acquire images at speeds greater than 100 MB/s over standard Gigabit Ethernet while using only a fraction of a computer's CPU, leaving essential processing power available for complex machine vision algorithms. This performance is realized without adding more software complexity. In fact, with NI Vision Acquisition software, engineers can interchange IEEE 1394 and GigE Vision cameras without changing their programs. In addition, with NI Vision Acquisition software, they can speak to GigE Vision cameras and ordinary TCP/IP network devices via the same port. Because of this unique innovation, engineers can use the same port for acquiring images as well as general-purpose Web applications without the need to switch drivers.

GigE Vision provides many features that have been unavailable in a single camera interface until now. The combined features of high data rates, long cable lengths (up to 100 m) and low-cost cabling make Gigabit Ethernet an attractive interface option for security and application monitoring. In addition, GigE Vision is compatible with standard Gigabit Ethernet hardware, allowing networking of cameras. This is especially useful in situations requiring multiple views of the same product or that involve many networked cameras placed far from a PC.

NI Vision Acquisition software is a single software package for acquiring, saving and displaying images from industrial cameras on standard industrial machine vision buses, including GigE. It is part of both the NI Vision Development Module and NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection. Engineers also can order this package separately for applications requiring only image acquisition and not image processing or analysis.

In August, NI will host the Vision Summit at NIWeek 2006, one of the largest vision events in North America. During the Summit, industry experts will present the advantages and disadvantages of the popular machine vision camera buses, including GigE.

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