Simplify your Machine-Vision Application-Development

configuration instead of programming - and 12 videos from Matrox Design Assistant IDE

München, (PresseBox) - Cost for hardware components in the imaging market generally is decreasing, but the expenses for software development remain at very high level. This is why there is a demand for new concepts in software development: reducing time and effort by abandoning programming in high-level languages like C++ and use more convenient, cofiguration-type development tools for configuring imaging applications instead. Matrox Design Assistant for the smart camera Iris GT is an answer for this request. It relieves significant workload for programmers and enables even non-programmers to realize imaging applications.
Up to now, software solutions for graphical or visual development faced three main issues: keeping the workflow clear and simple even for complex tasks, offer the possibility to generate a custom user interface and to have the option to fast and easily extend the existing functionality.

Matrox Design Assistant
Matrox Design Assistant is an integrated development environment (IDE), which overcomes these limitations and offers a new way of software development.
It´s a development tool to easily and quickly configure and deploy machine vision applications including a user interface for the endcustomer. This is done with two main tools: a flowchart is visually put together and an user-interface is designed with an integrated HTML editor.

The flowchart
The flowchart is used for describing the logical workflow of the imaging application. It is constructed by adding and interconnecting single steps, which will be executed sequentially during runtime.
Design Assistant offers a large selection of configurable steps, which can be divided into the five functional divisions Image, Analysis&Processing, Flow Control, Communication and Utilities.

-Image- offers image acquisition or restoring images from disk.
-Analysis&Processing- includes modules for different imaging tasks (see box). All algorithms originate from the field-proven Matrox Imaging Library (MIL) and guarantee best performance, robustness and accuracy. MIL proved this in uncountable applications all over the world.
-Flow Control- provides the steps, that are necessary to control the execution of the flowchart. Decision making and branching, entering and leaving sub-flowcharts as well as pause, resume and halt the execution of the main flowchart.
-Communication- summarizes functions for communicating with external hardware in the field and to evaluate external events in the flowchart: digital User-I/O, serial RS-232, Ethernet, mouse- and keyboard inputs and industry protocols like Ethernet/IP and Modbus.
-Utilities- holds counters, variables for storing data of any kind, logging to file and creation and evaluation of timestamps.

Design and configuration of the flowchart
The flowchart is constructed with the steps mentioned above and is executing sequentially in the main loop (Image 1 – the flowchart is build with single steps). Parallel to building the flowchart every step can be configured and tested by mouse. Every step is configured via simple configuration masks and a short online help will show an explanation of the most important parameters in parallel. The configuration does not overlap or the image from the camera (which shows overlays and results), so the whole design process stays very clear and well structured even when dealing with larger and more complex flowcharts. (Image 2: clear layout: flowchart, camera and configuration panes are always visible).
Design Assistant offers 38 different steps for an easy and quick solution for all kinds of different imaging applications – from checking simple feature presence up to very complex measurement tasks. The powerful and robust algorithms from MIL, combined with the flexible communication within the flowchart, with the operator view and external hardware builds a strong platform for all applications.

The sky is the limit – extend Design Assistant´s features
If a requirement comes up, which can not be solved with the exiting toolset of Design Assistant, then there is a solution. For these rare and special cases the Custom Step SDK can be used for building own steps and for integrating them seamlessly. These custom steps can then be used – exactly like the ones that come with Design Assistant – without programming knowledge. Custom steps are programmed with Microsoft C#, developers can optionally make use of the full functionality of MIL. Examples for customer´s steps are a FTP client for putting images of defects on a special FTP site, a parser for configuration files and special calculation modules.

Generating the operator view
Another great strength of Design Assistant is the strict separation of the logical description of the imaging application (=flowchart) and the user-interface, that is presented to the endcustomer during runtime (=operator view).
While the flowchart represents the internal logic, the operator view is the graphical user interface for the endcustomer for visualization and parameterization of the application. (Image 3: Operator-View during runtime, viewed with Internet Explorer)
The operator view is generated within Design Assistant with a graphical HTML editor, where all necessary elements are added and interconnected with the flowchart´s in- and outputs. You can use input- and output- fields, buttons, displays for images from the camera, and other graphical elements.
An operator view can be a website, that can be views during runtime from any remote PC over the network. Alternatively the opeator view can be programmed – comparable to the custom step SDK – for example in Visual Basic .NET for special requirements.

Design Assistant is a powerful tool for quick and easy application development. The IDE is convenient, clear and easy-to-use. It allows tackling and solving all sorts of different imaging applications without programming knowledge. In addition Design Assistant offers a huge amount of flexibility and possibility to expand its functionality – even specialized, custom algorithms can be integrated.
The combination of such a innovative software tool with the highly integrated smart camera Matrox Iris GT, which features an Intel Atom 1.6GHz CPU in an IP67 rated casing is a great offer for OEMs, system integrators and endusers. Imaging applications are developed quickly and without traditional and time-consuming code writing. Autor: Raoul Kimmelmann

Link Matrox Iris GT Smart-Camera Overview:

12 Videos - Matrox Design Assistant:
Video Matrox Design Assistant Overview

Video Blob-Analysis step

Video Code-Reader step

Video Image-Processing step

Video Intensity-Checker step

Video Metrology step

Video Model-Finder step

Video Pattern-Matching step

Video String-Reader step

Video Defining and using Calibration

Video Using and reusing Sub-Flowcharts

Video Creating a Operator View

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