Thankfully, cameras are being put to better use than selfies.
The evolution of cameras as devices dates hundreds of years, but the modern trend is, of course, documenting our own faces with selfies. According to one study, the average person takes more than 450 selfies every year. Outside of the selfie stick, the most significant selfie technology was the Selfie Sombrero (Google it).
But that's all personal use, and we all know that cameras were meant for more important tasks and can be deployed for more productive uses. Design engineers can configure optical devices for countless solutions—from smart applications such as facial recognition and sensors to high-performance machine vision systems for industrial automation safety and monitoring.
This week's New Tech Tuesdays checks out camera and imaging solutions from three big players in camera technology.
Intel® RealSense™ ID F450/F455 are compact out-of-the-box facial recognition solutions. The devices include camera sensors, secure elements, an illuminator, a project, and a system-on-chip (SoC) to perform facial recognition. The SoC is the workhorse, performing the data processing and running to self-learning neural networks to accurately match and recognize faces in less than a second. The devices do not store the actual photographs of the users but convert and encrypt the image data into a format understandable to systems. They're small: The F450 is 18mm x 50mm x 4.6mm and the F455 is 62mm x 32.5mm x 11x. Best of all, Intell® kept design engineers in mind by creating RealSense ID as an open-source, cross-platform solution.
Basler ace 2 Cameras are suitable for numerous applications, including automatic optical inspection or checking the correct alignment of parts or assemblies in industrial automation environments. Developers can take advantage of Basler's ace 2 series, which features designs with status LED on the back, improved mount, removable infrared cut filter, and robust M8 connectors. The ace 2 series also consists of Basic and Pro product lines, featuring Pixel Beyond (pixel adjustment) and Compression Beyond (image data compression) for demanding applications. The cameras are available in mono and color options and include a GigE or USB 3.0 interface.
FLIR Systems TG165-X™ Thermal Camera helps visualize the hot and cold spots that can reveal electrical faults, mechanical breakdowns, or air and water leaks faster than a single-spot infrared thermometer. Users can point the bullseye laser at the target area, pull the device's trigger, and view visual images that appear on its 2.4" display. Multi-spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX®) imaging technology embosses the visual details on the thermal image to create a sharper view. The handheld camera can measure a temperature range of -25°C to 300°C for view with a 50° × 38.6° field of view on its 2.4" LCD color display. The device can store up to 50,000 downloadable images and also offers a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
It seems like we've got to rescue the camera's reputation from the selfie-takers. Design engineers know the impact of productive and serious camera utilization, and they have thousands of solutions from which to choose.
Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.
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