The Compact Vision System from National Instruments Corp., Austin (www.ni.com), is a small (4 X 5 X 2.5 in.), 2-lb industrial computer optimized for high-speed machine vision. It contains a CPU motherboard and an I/O board inside an industrial casing with no vents or fans. Cooling is handled by heat sinks. An embedded Intel processor makes the system five times faster than CPUs used on most other smart cameras. It runs LabView Real-Time, and is either point-and-click configurable with Vision Builder for Automated Inspection or can be programmed with the company's Vision Development Module in LabView.
The I/O board has an IEEE-1394 controller with three inputs sharing 400 Mbytes/sec of bandwidth that can acquire and analyze images from several IEEE-1394 (FireWire) cameras in parallel. This reduces costs and improves coordination between image inspections. It also lets designers choose from over 80 cameras to complete their systems. The I/O board's digital interface features 15 input and 14 output lines that can be used to trigger cameras, strobe lighting, actuate relays, input pulse trains, and connect with other industrial devices, such as PLCs.