VisionGauge software and systems for visual inspectionVISIONx machine vision software and visual inspection systemsVisionGauge OnLine machine vision software
ADVANCED VISUAL INSPECTION AND HIGH ACCURACY MEASUREMENT SOLUTIONS

VisionGauge®
Latest Improvements


VISIONx INC. is always working to improve VisionGauge®. The main improvements and new features that have been added to VisionGauge® (version 5.45) since the previous major release (i.e. version 5.00) are the following:
 

  • VisionGauge® is now compatible with TWAIN-compliant image acquisition devices (e.g. digital cameras, scanners, frame grabbers, image databases, etc...). 
  • We.ve added support for the Integral Technologies Inc FlashBus MV™ family of video acquisition & display boards (see www.integraltech.com for more information about these boards).
  • In the Manual and Motorized Stage Configurations of VisionGauge®, it is now possible to set the stage position to zero along any single axis (rather than along all of the axes). 
  • We've added an "Image Sequence capture" tool you can use to capture & display images at a given time interval (every 5 seconds, for example). The images can either be displayed in "normal" or "full screen" mode and the images can also be saved to disk, either in BMP or JPEG formats. This new tool is very useful when observing & characterizing time-dependent processes.
  • A new "Arbitrary Line Width" measurement tool has been added to VisionGauge®. It works very much like the existing "Line Width" measurement tool, in that the user draws a box that over-reaches a line (e.g. a trace on a PCB, etc...) on the image & VisionGauge® then automatically finds the line & precisely measures its width. However, whereas the existing Line Width tool was limited to horizontal & vertical lines, this new measurement tool has no such restriction & can deal with lines of any orientation.
  • We've added a new image analysis tool to VisionGauge®: the new "Edge Map" tool in the "Tools" sub-menu. It basically passes the image through an edge-detection filter & displays the result.
  • Also, the "Overlay Image" window now has a few new "Image Artithmetic" function. Previously, VisionGauge only allowed for image superimposition (with a variable transparency) and image differencing. Now, we've also added image subtraction & addition as well as "min" and "max" operations. These new image arithmetic capabilities can be very useful, for example when you're working with thresholded images for "Counting & Sizing" operations.
  • We've added two new Annotation Modes: "Count" & "Box". As its name implies, the "Count" feature is used to manually count particles, blobs and other such objects. The user can specify the base (or "starting") number used for counting. This is useful if - for some reason - the user interrupts the count & wishes to resume or continue counting later on. The count feature also has a "Sizing Annulus" which can be activated or not. It is also possible to specify the diameter of the annulus (in the current measurement unit system). 
  • As for the "Box" feature, it simply lets the user draw a rectangular box on the image. Here also, the user can set the size (i.e. both width & height, independently) of the box, once again in the current linear measurement unit system. And as is the case for all of the annotation modes, for both of these new features, line colors, styles, thickness as well as font sizes, types, colors, etc... can be set using either the Annotation toolbox's "Preferences" button or through the "Settings | Annotation Preferences" menu command.
  • In the manual- and motorized-stage configurations of VisionGauge®, it is now possible to apply Linear Error Correction (i.e. LEC) along the Z-axis, as well as along the X- and Y-axis.
  • We've developed VisionGauge® HT to measure the hardness of materials. VisionGauge® HT automatically determines the hardness (Brinell, Knoop, Rockwell & Vickers) by visually measuring characteristic dimensions on indentations made by standard hardness testing machines. VisionGauge® HT carries out all hardness measurements in accordance with the latest revision of the relevant ASTM Standards. And VisionGauge's® advanced edge-detection technology produces sub-pixel accurate measurements, increase measurement repeatability and virtually eliminates operator-dependent measurement error.
VisionGauge® HT is a superset of VisionGauge's® feature-rich Standard Edition, which means that it includes VisionGauge's® wide range of measurement and statistics tools, counting & sizing features, reporting & databasing capabilities, image capture, annotation, enhancement, analysis, comparison & transmission features, etc...
  • When carrying out diameter & radius measurements, it.s now possible to use up to 6 measurement points. When you use more than 3 points, VisionGauge® finds the "best fit" circle.
  • When no file extension is given (for any type of file: image, data, "rtf" report, etc...), an appropriate default extension is now automatically added to the filename.
  • It is now possible to send the current stage position to a data file by pressing the "Output" button in either the DRO or "Motion Toolbox" windows. It should be noted that a data file must have previously been open (using the "File | Data | Open" menu command).
  • Live Image Overlay Builder has been enhanced: it's now possible to use circles & arbitrary line segments. We've also added an option to the "Live Image Overlay" window that allows you to add the live image overlay over top of the image when you "freeze" it.
  • We've added simple password protection for calibrations & stage-based Linear Error Correction (LEC). 
  • We've also added a second level of password protection, that we call "Lock-Out" password protection. When "Lock-Out" password protection is enabled, VisionGauge® prompts the user for the "Lock-Out" password whenever the user attempts to:
i) write setup files to disk
ii) change the system's "general preferences" (i.e. through the "Settings | General Preferences" menu command) 
iii) write motion programs to disk (in the Motorized Stage Configuration)
iv) change the motion control settings (i.e. through the Motion Toolbox's "Settings | Motion Control" menu option in the Motorized Stage Configuration)
v) send commands directly to the motion controller (i.e. through the Motion Toolbox's "Command" menu option in the Motorized Stage Configuration)
  • We've broadened & enhanced VisionGauge®'s support for JPEG image files.
  • We've added a marker to VisionGauge®'s Calibration Toolbox to indicate which calibration is currently loaded into the system. 
  • We've enhanced VisionGauge's support of EPIX's PIXCI® D video acquisition board for digital cameras. Among other improvements, we've added some support for live image overlays, as well as for reading-in a PIXCI® D format file (*.fmt) containing the description of a video state and created with XCIP/XCAP. 
  • We've added a new measurement mode (for 3D stage-based systems) that allows you to measure the distance between a point and a plane. This new measurement mode is very useful for very high accuracy thickness & height measurements (i.e. "Z measurements"), when you want to compensate for any co-planarity error between the XY stage and the sample. This new measurement mode is very simple to use: simply select four (x, y, z) points in space. VisionGauge® then fits a plane through the first three points and measures the shortest distance between this plane and the fourth point. As always, VisionGauge® updates the measured value as you're carrying out the measurement, making it very easy to "see where you are".

    Measurements between a point and a plane in the Z axis with VisionGauge

  • We've added support for the SPOT(r) RT digital camera.
  • The reporting for Vickers Hardness Testing has been vastly improved, and now allows for the collection of samples with statistics, added "depth" fields, output of graphs, etc... We've also improved the integration of the hardness measurements with the other features.
  • New controls have been added to the "automatic arbitrary line width" measurement tool.
  • We've enhanced VisionGauge®'s "Counting & Sizing" feature so that it can be used to obtain information about individual objects (such as grains, particles, cells, etc...). To obtain the area and equivalent diameter of a specific object, simply click on it from within VisionGauge®'s "Counting & Sizing" window. Furthermore, the  "Counting & Sizing" window's "File | Save as..." menu command now lets you save to disk the information about all of the individual objects in the sample, along with the rest of the sample information.

    You can also remove one or many objects from the sample by pressing on the "Counting & Sizing" window's "Remove" button and then clicking on the objects that you want to remove from the sample. The image of the objects as well as the "Counting & Sizing" window's results are automatically updated. Please note that when you click on an object to remove it from the sample, VisionGauge® stores the coordinates of the pixel on which you clicked. This way, even if you subsequently change the parameters in the "Counting & Sizing" window, any object that passes through these coordinates is automatically removed from the sample. To "un-remove" all of the previously removed objects, simply press on the "Counting & Sizing" window's "Un-remove" button.

  • We've added support in VisionGauge® for EPIX's PIXCI® SV4 video acquisition board for Composite & S-Video analog cameras.
  • We've improved VisionGauge's® motorized stage control by implementing a form of torque feedback when instructing the motor controller to "switch modes". This results in significantly smoother acceleration & much quieter motion, even under heavy loads.
  • We've enhanced the "teach mode" in VisionGauge's® "Motion Toolbox" so that it is now simple to add instructions within a motion program to change the measurement mode "on the fly", automatically. Furthermore, all of the "measurement mode" information associated with a motion program is saved to disk within the motion program file and can thus be recalled for later use. 
  • We've added a marker to VisionGauge®'s Calibration Toolbox to indicate which calibration is currently loaded into the system. 
  • More state variables are now saved to "Setup" files, including the system's current "measurement mode".
  • We have added a "Focus-Based Image Blending" tool (i.e. "Perfect Focus"). You can use this new tool can combine two or more partially-focused images into one fully-focused image! This is extremely useful in applications where your instrument's optical depth-of-field is less than the height of the features & topography on the sample. This is a fully-automatic tool that works on color as well as greyscale images, and there is no limit on the number of component images that you can use.   

    With this tool, you can choose from 4 different automatic image-blending algorithms: 

             1. Best focus 
             2. Weighted focus 
             3. Power-weighted focus, and 
             4. Adaptive (i.e. neighborhood-weighted best focus). 
     

    In practice, the 4th algorithm generally gives excellent results (and is always active by default), but the other 3 schemes are also available to give advanced users a maximum level of flexibility.
     

  • The Motion Toolbox's "Stop" button now acts like an "emergency stop": now, all motion stops instantly, regardless of how the motion was initiated. 
  • In the Motorized-Stage Configuration of VisionGauge®, we've added joystick support for a 3rd axis (i.e. Z-axis).
  • New controls have been added to the "automatic arbitrary line width" measurement tool.
  • In the Motorized-Stage Configuration of VisionGauge®, a number of "advanced" motor control settings have been added (for initial velocities, hold & run current, number of ramp-up & ramp-down steps, etc... )
  • In the Motorized-Stage Configuration of VisionGauge®, we've added "convergence criteria" (you can specify distinct values for the x, y and z axes). By default, these values are zero (i.e. when carrying out a move, VisionGauge® should attempt to reach the exact position). However, by setting looser criteria (i.e. larger values), you allow the stage to stop on a position that is slightly off from the prescribed position. There are many instances where such very slight off-positions are acceptable and "loosening" slightly the convergence criteria can speedup motion considerably (because fewer fine convergence iterations are necessary).
  • In the Motorized-Stage Configuration of VisionGauge®, we've added support for three joystick buttons (i.e. to switch between the 3 jog velocities).
  • We've added new "Database Search" tools and a "Thumbnail Preview Image Gallery" to VisionGauge®. You can use these new tools to call up all of the reports in VisionGauge's® report database that contain a specific search string (for example: a date, an evocative keyword, a specialized term, etc...). Searches can either be case sensitive or not. These enhanced "Database Search" tools work seamlessly with VisionGauge's® integrated Report Generator and Database. 
    To carry out a search, simply type-in a search string and VisionGauge® shows you all of the reports in which it can be found, twelve at a time. For each matching report, VisionGauge's® "Database Search" tools display a thumbnail preview image, along with two "key field" strings. Then, when you click on the image of the report that you're looking for, VisionGauge® retrieves it from the database and loads it into the Report generator. 
  • In the Motorized-Stage Configuration of VisionGauge®, we've added various joystick setting controls (to increase or decrease sensitivity to joystick displacement). We've also added a command that will allow you to re-calibrate the joystick while VisionGauge® is running.
  • In the Motorized-Stage Configuration of VisionGauge®, you can now specify the number of iterations to carry out in the "Continuous" run mode.

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