NI 177x smart cameras

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National Instruments has expanded its NI smart camera family of products by introducing seven new models, including colour and high-resolution options. The new NI 177x smart cameras feature a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor for increased processing power and an IP67 rating to protect the hardware from dust and water. Additionally, the cameras have a real-time operating system to deliver the reliability and determinism needed on a production floor.

Using the Intel Atom processor, the cameras deliver processing speeds four times greater than other NI smart cameras. They also add new sensor options, including VGA, 1.3 Megapixel and 2 Megapixel in colour and monochrome as well as 5 Megapixel in monochrome. The sensor options make the cameras well suited for applications requiring higher resolution image acquisition such as metrology and detection of small defects as well as colour imaging such as LED validation for electronics.

The cameras include four digital input and four digital output lines and support several industrial communication protocols including RS232 (Serial, Modbus serial) and Ethernet (TCP/IP, Ethernet/IPModbus TCP). Using the signals generated from these networks, engineers can dynamically control lighting or cameras, synchronise with a conveyor belt, drive mechanisms for sorting parts or integrate the smart cameras with programmable logic controllers. The cameras also include a VGA video out connection for monitoring inspection images.

The NI 177x smart cameras are shipped with NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI) 2011 software, a menu-driven, interactive environment for configuring, benchmarking and deploying vision systems. Engineers can use the software to configure the camera, create custom user interfaces, acquire images, set up triggering and lighting, perform image processing steps and communicate results through I/O or industrial communication networks. The cameras can also be programmed using NI LabView graphical programming and the NI Vision Development Module for advanced customisation and integration with other National Instruments hardware.