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caleyjag

OpenG imaging and machine vision tools?

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In my job I develop in-house machine vision and image processing solutions for my company.

 

In industrial machine vision and inspection, there are several main players (Cognex, Keyence, Matrox, Halcon, etc.)  LabVIEW and IMAQ are not totally out of the picture but are far from common for manufacturing applications.

 

I try to use LabVIEW whenever I can because I find it's great for quickly prototyping proof-of-concept systems. I use the Vision Acquisition and Vision Development Module toolkits extensively.

 

For the most part, the functions provided by NI meet my needs. Increasingly though, I find myself pushing their limits, and yearning for the functionality offered by some of the competition. 

 

In some cases I can leverage these external libraries but that can be cumbersome. 

 

Aside from a couple of older, paid LabVIEW libraries from third party companies, I can't find much out there to complement the IMAQ palettes. 

 

1.) Are there quality VIs out there and I'm just not seeing them?

2.) Is there an appetite for them?

3.) Would anyone be interested in working (with me or otherwise) on an open-source image processing toolkit?

 

 

 

 

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1.) Are there quality VIs out there and I'm just not seeing them?

2.) Is there an appetite for them?

3.) Would anyone be interested in working (with me or otherwise) on an open-source image processing toolkit?

 

 

1) I don't really know the answer for sure, I saw that though :http://www.ehe-lab.com/OpenCV_Wrapper.html, I admit I have no idea how openCV compares to  Cognex, Keyence, Matrox, Halcon, NI VDM, etc...

2) NI's OCR and pattern matching are far behind the competitors, so if there is a way to integrate something that give better results I am very interested

3) If I can be of any help I'll be glad, I have to say though that I've never coded in any other language than LabVIEW so integrating dll  into LabVIEW is not my cup of tea.

 

Cheers

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 I have to say though that I've never coded in any other language than LabVIEW so integrating dll  into LabVIEW is not my cup of tea.

 

 

I hear you brother! My job requires me to deal with other languages and environments but I'm usually out of my comfort zone. That's why I'd like to find (or help develop) more LabVIEW-specific toolkits. 

 

OpenCV is probably the best open-source library I have found to date. The commercial libraries and tools can be expensive. They aren't generally a viable solution for the layman or hobbyist, or small projects with low budgets.

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It's an interesting idea but also one which requires a lot of work to get to a point that is even remotely useful. IMAQ Vision isn't just a small collection of C functions gathered together but a pretty involved function library and at the same time lots of supporting glue to put those functions in an easy to use way into LabVIEW without sacrificing performance in a big way.

 

OpenCV would probably be the library of choice for such a project. I've been looking into it to make some DLL interface that integrates OpenCV in an easy to use way into LabVIEW. But OpenCV also has a legacy with an old style C interface and a more modern C++ interface and I have found that not every functionality is equally available in both. That makes a generic interface to LabVIEW more complicated as you need to provide different datatypes for the different functions.

 

Creating OpenG interfaces to Halcon, Sherlock, Matrox, Keyence, etc, is probably not very interesting for a larger audience. These softwares are expensive, with strict license control and totally out of reach of most non-commercial developers and even many commercial projects.

 

Whatever you decide, it's a serious undertaking to get something like this started and even more work to get something usable up and running.

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It's not meant to be a discouragement and I would be definitely trying to help with advice for the more low level difficulties, but I have no time and resources to substantially contribute to and drive such a project myself. If I would start this seriously, it would be out of a project for which we need that and that would almost automatically mean that it could not be provided as open source without a lot of hassles.

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I understand what you are saying, however I'm not proposing an alternative to IMAQ, which as you say is a solid package and adequate for many applications.

 

Although IMAQ covers a lot of the bases I find myself having to create additional functions fairly regularly. It would be nice to find a way to share some of this work effectively.

 

OpenG has a number of palettes that contain only a few basic functions that somebody thought might be useful to others. In some cases those are very modest modifications of original LabVIEW functions. 

 

 

I don't think we can expect anyone to develop a comprehensive library on their own and make it open source. But I do think there are probably a few functions and tricks people have developed relating to image processing that could complement NI's efforts.

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Creating libraries and reuse code is the fun bit that everyone wants to be part of. Maintaining and supporting them is the soul destroying part that usually spells the demise of a project and gets no thanks.

 

Good luck. It's a worthy cause.

Edited by ShaunR

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I have also been looking for a replacement to NI Vision for a number of years now, but for a different reason.  The exhorbitant cost of the run-time licence - the last one I brought was around A$725!! makes it cost prohibitive for deploying simple vision applications on multiple computers.

 

I brought the IVision Toolkit (last updated 2010) which was pretty good, but as ShaunR mentioned it is difficult to maintain and support for any length of time and so soon becomes obsolete.

 

I haven't tried the NI GPU Analysis or ADV Toolkits, but they all suffer from the same problem ongoing support issue to keep them up to date.

 

Chris

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I really like the idea. If your vision is to expand NI Vision which is already a pretty good base, I would be interested in the added functionalities. We have been doing Vision projects in the past and among other features, the lack of a better OCR has been a pain. I agree with ShaunR that supporting such a tool is the main challenge over time. If the project gets off the ground and we can share some of our functionalities, I'd be willing to do so.

 

Good luck!

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