Balluff Introduces Stereo 3D Innovation
Balluff’s new camera leverages "Praying mantis" stereoscopic vision and open-source software to see and sense distance, location, and the relative size of objects in motion.
Industrial 3D vision systems have become a valuable tool for automation and control applications, especially where accurately detecting the size, and relative location of small objects in motion is a necessity.
Nature’s already perfected it. In 2016 Newcastle University released a study in 2016 confirming the Praying mantis’ ability to see in 3D, an ability scientists call stereopsis, or binocular vision. Enabled by stereopsis, Praying mantis, noted the study, can more accurately judge the size and distance of prey in motion as well as locate high-potential mates. According to National Geographic, university scientists and students used the data to develop an algorithm that imitates mantis sight in support of better robot vision. Unfortunately, no male mantis was willing to comment publicly about how effectively 3D vision serves its species’ mating agenda.
Students and researchers at Newcastle University used the data collected from a 2016 study proving Praying mantis stereoscopic vision to develop an algorithm that improves robot vision and motion control. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock
Beyond the animal kingdom 3D camera technology has been steadily advancing over the past few decades and has reached the point where the technology can be easily and successfully integrated to support more accurate part and workpiece control. To that end, Balluff, a well-known supplier of automation and vision systems, has introduced the super high-resolution BVS-3D-RV1 3D Camera to help machines and other systems sense the size, motion, and relative distance of objects faster and more accurately. Featuring free open-source software, Baluff’s new camera supports more cost-effective integrations and a broader range of applications.
Applications Are Abundant
Until the 3D vision systems became more accessible to systems engineers, bin-picking and similar operations were very complicated to solve. With advanced 3D vision systems, the camera can detect parts and orientation as well as the height from a given reference point. All of this data is then fed back to the robot and the taught position or work frame is adjusted. This technology has advanced to the point where integration of these systems takes only a few hours, and depending on the complexity of the part can be very reliable.
Balluff's BVS-3D-RV1 3D Camera is designed to help machines and other systems sense the size, motion, and relative distance of objects faster. Image used courtesy of Balluff
BVS-3D-RV1 3D Camera
Cameras are typically judged by their resolution in megapixels, that is the number of pixels within the area of an image. The higher the megapixels, the rule of thumb goes, the higher the image quality, the more accurate the vision system will be. The BVS-3D-RV1 integrates a 12-megapixel camera designed for detecting and handling small components in motion. Capable of capturing nine images per second, the BVS-3D has a working distance of up to 4m, allowing designers to mount the devices optimally.
Balluff's BVS-3D-RV1 integrates a 12-megapixel camera designed for detecting and handling small components in motion. Image used courtesy of Balluff
Baluff’s extended range allows system engineers more latitude to adjust the vision system's field of vision to suit the task best. As the distance from the inspection point increases, the camera’s field of view widens. That means the BVS-3D’s view can span up to 3m x 2.5m when placed 4m from the object, or go as small as 230mm x 320mm with a working distance of 500mm.
A Vision of Open Source Software
Leveraging the popular GigE Vision standard, Baluff manages high-speed image transfers over standard industrial ethernet hardware while delivering more flexibility in creating interfaces for users. Adding to this value, BVS-3D is supplied with an SGM producer software library that can be used with third-party software to create vision applications such as OpenCV. A software package is available to download and provides the user with a 3D viewer, calibration tools, status tools, and programming libraries. Lastly, the software package supports all of Nvidia's GPUs.
Ready for Harsh Environments
Vision systems can be very sensitive to operating in harsh conditions. Offering a robust exterior, the BVS-3D is IP54 rated. The rating and casing mean the BVS-3D is suitable for metalworking and machine assembly environments.