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International Machine Vision Standards Meeting

Schongau for one week becomes epicenter of standards development

(PresseBox) (Barcelona , ) Development engineers from leading image processing companies worldwide met under the patronage of G3 - a common organization of the three international machine vision associations EMVA, AIA and JIIA - end of October in Schongau/Germany for this years' second International Standards Meeting. Organized by vision company Sensor to Image, the experts discussed the development of the current standards used in image processing. In addition, products and their compatibility to the standards were tested during a plugfest. Says Jochem Herrmann, Director Standards in the EMVA board: "For the first time, all actively hosted interface standards of the machine vision industry, namely USB3 Vision, Camera Link HS, GigE Vision, CoaXPress and the software interface standard GenICam were present at the meeting in Schongau. This made it the largest International Standards meeting ever with 73 persons representing over 30 companies from all over the world." Herrmann emphasizes the positive atmosphere amongst the representatives who cooperated enthusiastically despite being competitors often in daily business.

Key developments within the standards

The GenICam software standard meeting agreed to force the development of GenApi 3.0 which will enable a significantly faster initializing of the camera's features and will need less memory. Also, the participants discussed about further standardized camera features in the SFNC module, in particular regarding "UserSets", "SequencerMode", generic software trigger, firmware update, and TL-specific features for USB3 Vision and CoaXPress. A proposal was made for integrating pixel formats and features for 3D cameras, along with an agreement to develop procedures to validate GenTL compliant products. GenICam 2.4 will be released end of 2013 and will include updated versions of the underlying modules GenApi (v2.4), GenTL (v1.4), and SFNC (v2.1). GenICam 3.0 is expected to be released in the second half of 2014.

The major work of the USB3 Vision committee in Schongau centered on clarifying open issues in order to roll them into a 1.0.1 standard release scheduled later this year. Another major item completed was the first official public certification event. Since the past meeting, the first version of the compliance testing procedures and test suite had been released and it is likely the most comprehensive of any machine vision standard. Multi-camera synchronization, multiple image streams from a single camera, and enhanced power delivery for more power hungry cameras were research items discussed to be completed for the next meeting and in addition, research items slated for potential inclusion in a future version of the standard were discussed, including lowering the overhead of extremely fast frame rate acquisitions and more deterministic transfers for asynchronous events.

The Camera Link HS committee agreed to increase the speed of the C2 (CX4) cable to 5 Gbps/lane as is used by the Infiniband standard. This enables full use of the bandwidth available in off the shelf copper to fiber adapter enabling cable reach to 100 meter. Also, the latch style CX4 connector for the frame grabber has been approved for use in support of the fiber converters. In addition, it was agreed to increase the speed of the M protocol to support default 3.125 Gbps, 5 Gbps, 6.25 Gbps and 8 Gbps to align with single lane SFP/SFP+ copper and fiber solutions using low cost FPGA families. Effective throughput with a single lane at 8 Gbps is about 760 Mbytes per second. In addition, it was agreed to add multiple ROI capability with each ROI able to support different data types and bit depths which supports 3D camera needs, or chunk data transfer from the camera. This feature adds a Frame Header and Frame Trailer packet to the video stream. Finally, a new virtual uplink channel was added to support commanding the camera to new ROI settings on a "frame by frame" basis. This "hardware to hardware" link bypasses the usual GenCP methodology to enable minimal latency camera interpretation with commands sourced from the application software or from the frame grabber hardware. The Camera Link HS committee targets a May 2014 release of Revision 2.0.

Major outcomes of the GigE Vision session were adding support for True Sense sparse color filter in the Pixel Format Naming Convention and the preparation to introduce 3D data support in GigE Vision. In addition, GigE Vision Validation Framework, a tool used to certify compliancy for GigE Vision devices supporting the current version of the standard was driven forward. New developments for the next GigE Vision release 2.1 which is targeted for November 2014 are locking connectors with thumbscrews, 3D data support, testing specification to support the Validation Framework, and pixel formats fully referenced from Pixel Format Naming Convention (PFNC).

The CoaXPress standards meeting centered on the release 1.2 which is targeted for the fourth quarter 2014 and dealt with the subjects of faster speed (10 Gbps and 12.5 Gbps per cable; data striping to cope with cameras faster than one PC can cope with; forward error correction to correct any occasional bit errors on the link; and support for GenICam events.

Fine-tuning of Standards Brochure

As part of the meeting, the Future Standards Forum under G3 met for final adjustments of the Global Machine Vision Standards Brochure which will be presented to the public at the SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg later this month.

The next international standards meeting will be held in the first half year 2014 in North America.

European Machine Vision Association

Founded in May 2003 in Barcelona, the European Machine Vision Association currently has about 120 members representing 22 nations. Its aim is to promote the development and use of machine vision technology and to support the interests of its members - machine vision companies, research institutions and national machine vision associations. The main fields of work of EMVA are: standardization, statistics, the annual EMVA Business Conference and other networking events, European research funding, public relations and marketing. To find out more visit the web site www.emva.org.