Ready-to-use sensor modules aid in prototyping, and help to provide the first image to smart devices with Embedded Vision in as little as 30 minutes.
Smart fridges, intelligent agricultural drones, or highly sensitive industrial robots – the working prototype and the first image present special challenges for developers embedding bare sensors into their devices. In this case, small sensor modules are ready for use and they can both simplify and accelerate the process from the initial concept, to a working prototype.
The manufacturer of a fridge must have experience in refrigeration. In times of smart home appliances, it is no longer that simple. A modern fridge with integrated cameras can analyze the best-before dates of food; update the online shopping list; or, display suitable recipes. Today, developers of these smart devices need basic knowledge about imaging, sensor technology, processing, and programming. In addition, they must be familiar with the integration of camera technology into the entire refrigeration system.
Figure 1: Smart Fridges integrate cameras to recognize food, to update online grocery shopping lists and to provide receipes
Hurdles to the First Image
Initial integration of vision technology into smart devices often poses new challenges, even for experienced development teams. They must realize a proof-of-concept and put an end product through its paces – the basic functionality and the interaction of all components must work flawlessly. In the vision subsystem, a wide variety of components must be connected and verified; and, software engineering must wait for the final hardware. Electronic design, layout, and PCB production take time; and, resources must be allocated. In particular, high-speed signaling and the connection of sensor and devices require in-depth specialist knowledge and experience. In terms of time-to-market and resources, a lack of knowhow in sensor integration can prolong the timeline to a large degree.
“We want to enable engineers and developers to qualify image sensors directly in their application, integrate them quickly and not have to worry about the basic technology of the vision subsystem,” says André Brela, Product Manager at FRAMOS®. The vision specialist has developed a product line of interchangeable sensor modules and adapters that facilitate and accelerate the development of embedded vision products. According to Brela, development teams that work with image processing for the first time can both implement the proof-of-concept and the initial prototypes with standard components, without a great deal of specialist knowledge. The product manager says that “it takes less than 30 minutes from unpacking the pre-soldered sensor modules to capturing the first image”.
Figure 2: FRAMOS Sensor Modules are available in manifold versions and with adapters and processor boards to easily build Embedded Vision solutions
Also for Vision Beginners: The Fast Lane to the First Prototype
Sensors and processors with a flexible adapter concept can be exchanged during testing to identify the best combination of components. This active exchange does not affect the interfaces. The software developers can concentrate on their core application, and can concurrently operate independently of the hardware team. André Brela explains the concept behind the sensor modules: “With our sensor modules, OEMs and device manufacturers do not necessarily have to become sensor experts themselves to benefit from the freedom and efficiency of application-specific sensor integration. We believe our customers are most successful when they concentrate on their core application. In the example above, this means producing really good refrigerators. For the smart additional functions, the FRAMOS Embedded Vision product line offers immediately accessible hardware and drivers that combine a wide variety of image sensors with open processing platforms -Additionally, it presents image processing to newcomers, the chance to have a proof-of-concept and the first prototype of a smart refrigerator up and running in a short time, and at low cost.