Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Jun 1st, 2002

by Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

Dalsa and Photonfocus collaborate on CMOS sensor
Dalsa (Waterloo, Ont., Canada) and Photonfocus (Lachen, Switzerland) announced that the companies have entered into a cooperative agreement for worldwide commercialization of the Linlog wide-dynamic-range CMOS image-sensor technology in cameras for industrial machine vision and other applications. Typical applications for the Linlog technology from Photonfocus include welding, laser metrology, traffic monitoring, and other uses with wide-ranging illumination levels. Réne Mangold, the CEO of Photonfocus, said, "This agreement is an important milestone. Partnering with Dalsa provides an opportunity for rapid growth of the start-up company Photonfocus." The companies will work together over the coming months to introduce camera products worldwide under Dalsa's brand.


Vector Technology wins KCRC Rail extension
Vector Technology (Abertillery, South Wales) has won a £360,000 (US$523,000) contract for the KCRC West Rail extension in Hong Kong. The exclusive two-year contract with Siemens (Erlangen, Germany), the prime contractor, means that Vector will provide platform to train communications for KCRC using its RailMaster laser system. The system uses optical laser-interface technology to transmit real-time CCTV pictures from the platform to a moving train before, during, and just after it stops in the station. The CCTV signal is superimposed on the light beam emitted from an infrared laser, which is carried via an optical fiber, to a projector mounted alongside the track. It is then transmitted through free space to a receiver mounted on the train. A key advantage of the system is that it can readily cover a wide variety of alternative railway applications. These include carriage-to-carriage surveillance throughout the train; CCTV pictures of potential hazard points such as level crossings, road bridges, and busy intersections several miles ahead; and a reciprocal train-to-platform communication system.


Datacube and MVTec collaborate on OEM machine vision
Datacube (Danvers, MA) has entered an agreement with MVTec Software (Munich, Germany) to bundle the Datacube Halcon 6.1 machine-vision software tools with MVTec MaxRevolution and MaxPCI family of framegrabbers and image processors. "We see the union of Datacube hardware and MVTec software as a powerful combination that enables OEMs and system integrators to advance their machine-vision performance to new heights," said Tom Hospod, vice president of marketing and business development at Datacube. "For the first time, users of Halcon software will be able to accelerate time-consuming image-preprocessing steps on the fly, thereby increasing their overall system throughput and responsiveness." Commenting on the new relationship, Olaf Munkelt, managing director of MVTec, stated, "Historically, host-based machine-vision software performance has been solely governed by advances in host CPU and PCI bus bandwidth. This [collaboration] reduces the overall processing time while maintaining high flexibility."


Atmospheric Infrared Sounder launched last month
The BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), built by the IR Imaging Systems (IRIS) business in Lexington, MA, was successfully launched on May 4 onboard NASA's Aqua Spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. AIRS is the result of more than ten years of research and development by IRIS under contract and in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA). Data from the AIRS instrument is expected to significantly improve weather forecasts. The National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and scientists around the world will use data collected by AIRS to better understand the Earth's climate, and to improve the accuracy of their weather and climate models. The new NASA instrument will make very accurate measurements of air temperature and humidity on a global scale. It is a key part of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS), designed to study the planet's health and human impact on it. The EOS research program consists of a series of satellites that monitor global environmental changes.


Also in the news . . .
DRS Technologies (Parsippany, NJ) has received a contract to design and manufacture sonar display consoles for the Sonar 2193 Project of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy. The award, valued in excess of $1 million, was received from Thales Underwater Systems (Somerset, England), a unit of the Thales Group. . . . Micron Technology (Boise, Idaho) is sampling CMOS image-sensor camera system-on-a-chip devices and stand-alone CMOS image sensors designed specifically to meet the demands of low-power mobile devices such as cell phones, smart phones, and PDAs.

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