Product Updates

Chess pattern captuerd using a Mesa time-of-flight camera and SAL3D library

AQSENSE's library for cloud of points acquisition and manipulation, SAL3D, now supports Mesa's leading 3D time-of-flight (TOF) cameras. With this inclusion, SAL3D library broadens its array of supported systems which already contained cameras from IDS, Automation Technology, Ximea, Point Grey and Frame Grabbers from Silicon Software, Dalsa, BitFlow, Matrox and ImperX.

With the SR4000, MESA Imaging offers a product line of industrial grade 3D cameras, based on proprietary TOF image sensor and camera technology. SR4000 cameras are known for their excellent accuracy, long-term stability and reliability. They are used in diverse applications, such as automatic cow milking, volume measurement, people detection/counting, or for control of automatic guided vehicles.

The use of AQSENSE's library together with Mesa's award-winning technology will open a whole new world of possibilities to OEM's, machine builders and systems integrators enabling the use of SAL3D capabilities on compact, light robust systems which where out of scope until now.

About Mesa

Mesa Imaging AG was founded in 2006 as a spin-off company from CSEM in Zurich. The company currently has 22 full-time employees and develops and manufactures time-of-flight (TOF) cameras for a wide range of end markets, including robotics, machine vision, security & surveillance, transportation and health care.

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The 3D Shape Analysis Library (SAL3D) is an standard library for rangemaps and cloud-of-points acquisition and processing, fully oriented to 3D machine vision applications such as quality assurance, surface inspection, objects detection, reverse engineering or volume measuring.

Based on the market demands, AQSENSE team has not stopped improving this 3D library and now is proud to announce that a new version capturing the latest improvements will be publicly available on September 26. As with previous versions, new tools have been added to ensure SAL3D fulfilling the latest market needs and keep providing an state-of-the-art, yet easy and flexible library.

New tools for new requirements

As 3D machine vision spreads, new requirements arise and companies look for libraries to provide them with solutions. AQSENSE has kept announcing new tools that were successfully tested and applied in a joint effort with OEMs and integrators. Now, they are all compiled in this new SAL3D version.

The “Angular Calibration Tool” is one of these innovative tools, allowing an easy calibration system for rotating camera-laser systems thus providing a way to integrate vision systems on robotic arms or angular movement arrangements. Besides, this tool can be further improved with the new “Lens distortion add-on for Metric and Angular Metric Calibration” which corrects the distortion introduced by the camera's lens.

SAL3D also introduces the “Area Tool”, a new module which computes the volume of an scanned object and the “Geometric Tool” providing functions such as angles measuring or plane fitting which also allows creating planar projections of a cloud-of-points (Zmap) for planes non aligned with the acquisition system.

Finally, the “Integrator Tool” permits the creation of a single mesh from multiple cloud-of-points and therefor is very useful for reverse engineering applications.

Easier to integrate

SAL3D has been improved not only in functionality but also in usability to shorten project development times.

The provided examples have been enhanced with help documentation and are now easily compiled thanks to the WXWidgets library being provided together with SAL3D. Also, new examples demonstrating how to combine SAL3D with other libraries (MIL, Halcon and OpenCV) have been added.

The new “viewer module”, whose use is also demonstrated in the examples, provides standard 3D viewers that can be used during development and debugging for easily showing COPs, rangemaps or Zmaps at any specific point.

All this and much more

These are some of the new features that have improved SAL3D but there is much more:

  • Faster, thanks to multi-core computers: New modules to take advantage of multi-core processors have been added
  • More compatible: Drivers for more framegrabbers and USB cameras are now provided with SAL3D library
  • More files support: Export tools to PLY 3D file formats
  • Three versions provided: a trial version, with no need of a dongle, for 32-bits windows XP computers and full 32 and 64 bits versions compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Finally, with the aim of providing costumers with the benefits of the newest improvements, a new release policy will be applied ensuring that SAL3D latests versions are available for downloading on AQSENSE's website.

The CAD import Tool is a module of the SAL3D library that allows any user to easily generate a cloud-of-points from a CAD file. The software uses such cloud-of-points as a reference model for comparison with scanned objects obtaining the differences between the real object and this 'golden' virtual representation. Thanks to this technology, no perfect physical model is needed making the development of 3D Quality Assurance projects faster, more cost-effective and more robust.

Image showing the scanning of a bread and its 3D reconstruction on a screen

ESPA, a leading watter pumps manufacturer, is collaborating with AQSENSE in order to thoroughly test this feature on whirlpool and spa turbines. Using a laser-triangulation system, the produced pumps are scanned and compared to the reference CAD object obtaining the CAD-to-Object deviations where any defect or shape aberration is clearly highlighted.

Press release at inspect online

Press release at Machine vision online

Press release at Engineering Specifier

Not only ultra-fast, accurate and robust surface inspections can be obtained using AQSENSE's SAL3D library but now, with the new Angular Metric Tool, angular set-ups can be used allowing lighter and economical systems. 

A graphic showing a typical camera-laser set-up for angular calibration

A 3D light stripe acquisition system is a common option where shape processing and surface inspection is needed. Product quality surveillance, volume measuring or reverse engineering are typical applications of this technology. SAL3D, with the Metric Tool, already offered an easy to use, ultra-fast and reliable library which was the perfect choice for linear laser scanning systems using one or more cameras and thus, for lineal moving systems like a conveyor belt.

With the new Angular Metric Tool, AQSENSE's library takes an step further and offers the possibility of calibrating angular scanning systems. These set-ups, where the camera and laser are rotating about an axis, are much compact than linear ones and so, suitable for being used on accurate robot scanning or 3D scanning of wide areas where parts are not moving.

The employment of this new tool is as easy as all AQSENSE's products are. With just a simple scan of a particular pattern a set of calibration parameters are obtained. This outcome is then used by SAL3D in order to obtain 3D metric clouds of points, free of perspective distortion, for accurate measurements, objects comparison or integration with 2D libraries.

SAL3D´s new module, the Area Tool, automatically determines the volume of scanned objects at high speeds, thus enabling complete in-line measurements.

AQSENSE´s flexible 3D vision software library offers two functional configurations: The measurement of an area with respect to a reference line and the measurement of closed profile areas. The first configuration makes use of a single camera-laser system and is employed, e.g., in fish slicing applications. The closed profile configuration uses a multi-camera-laser system and analyses the complete outline of whatever figure, allowing the measurement of any object while, for example, changing from one conveyor belt to another.

Image showing the scanning of a bread and its 3D reconstruction on a screen

The Area Tool has a wide range of applications in the food industry and has successfully been used by AQSENSE in several projects like sausages slicing or material density checking for the detection of inner bubbles.

Press release at inspect online

Press release at IMVE

Press release at Quality digest

Press release at Vision Systems Design online

Press release at Vision Systems Design (pages 31-32) - pdf file

Version 10.2 of the Common Vision Blox (CVB) programming library available from Stemmer Imaging

Saturday, 1st May 2010

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"CVB 10.2 now incorporates two new tools for 3D applications. CVB Metric 3D is a powerful calibration algorithm for 3D point clouds and uses a specific calibration target for the individual calibration of 3D point clouds before creating real measurements in 3D"  read more