Kinect camera plus vision software provides low-cost imaging

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German company MVTec Software has carried out initial testing of integrating the Microsoft Kinect camera with its machine vision software Halcon 10. This integration brings low-cost options to the machine vision market.

The Microsoft Kinect camera is an ultra-low cost vision sensor originally developed for the Microsoft Xbox 360. It combines an RGB camera (1,280 x 1,024 at 15fps or 640 x 480 at 30fps) with an infrared structured light depth sensor (640 x 480 at 30fps).

Dr Markus Ulrich, manager of research and development at MVTec, commented that due to the hardware independence of Halcon it was easy to integrated the Kinect sensor to the software: 'We implemented a simple Halcon interface making use of the current beta version of Kinect's open source driver. On the basis of Halcon's standard calibration techniques, we transformed the depth image into metrical X, Y, and Z data without any problems.'

After this step, the whole functionality of the Halcon library can be applied. This is especially suitable for some 3D vision applications, like surface-based 3D matching.

The Kinect sensor is certainly an interesting entry into the world of 3D vision. By combining Halcon and Kinect, new and creative 3D applications can be developed, such as for bin picking, packaging, or palletising. With this option, 3D applications with low-cost 3D sensors for large objects are possible, as well as for use in research and development.

Halcon software is also available in the UK from Multipix Imaging.

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