Industrial image processing is considered a key technology for the automation of production processes and is therefore an essential prerequisite for developments in the area of Industry 4.0. In order to live up to the continuously rising requirements on machine vision with minimal latency, further innovations are essential. Fraunhofer IIS/EAS is therefore working on software-programmable image sensors (Vision-Systems-on-Chip or VSoC) based on a new type of processing architecture. The Vision-System-on-Chip is the core of a modular system solution consisting of powerful camera hardware and flexible algorithms that enable especially high image rates and short response times at low power consumption.
Our approach combines the image capture directly with the image processing. Computationally intensive processing steps for feature extraction are executed under software control directly on the Vision-System-on-Chip. The quantity of data output can thereby be reduced to a minimum. The integrated components of our “software-defined smart camera” make it possible to not only select the actual image processing algorithms but also individually modify parameters such as precision, resolution and scanning rate to the respective requirements.