Sony and National Instruments Offer Comprehensive Smart Camera Solution

2nd August 2006
ES Admin
Sony Electronics and National Instruments have announced that the Sony XCI-SX1 Smart Camera under the Microsoft® Windows XPe operating system is compatible with National Instruments NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI) software. By combining the simplicity and reliability of the Sony Smart Camera with the ease of use of the NI Vision Builder AI machine vision software from National Instruments, engineers can configure, benchmark and deploy complete machine vision applications without any required programming.
“Using a combination of tools from Sony and National Instruments gives engineers a better solution for identifying objects, inspecting packaging and verifying assembly,” said Ken LaMarca, General Manager for Visual Imaging Products at Sony Electronics. “The combination of camera expertise from Sony with industry-leading image processing software from National Instruments really raises the bar for machine vision systems.”

The Sony XCI-SX1 Smart Camera takes the capabilities of a traditional machine vision solution requiring a PC, image acquisition board and charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and combines them into a compact, single stand-alone camera. The Sony Smart Camera, coupled with NI Vision Builder AI software, gives system integrators and end users the ability to create high-performance systems that address specific needs across a broad spectrum of industries and applications.

“The combination of NI Vision Builder AI software with Sony’s new Smart Camera provides the industry with a robust, cost-effective machine vision solution that is highly customisable without the effort and expense of custom coding,” said Kevin Schultz, National Instruments’ Director of Product Strategy. “This is a ‘win-win’ for the industry.”

NI Vision Builder AI is a configurable machine vision software package that requires no programming and includes optimised drivers and utilities that acquire, analyse and display images. Engineers can configure more than 100 powerful machine vision tools including pattern matching, optical character recognition (OCR) and particle analysis and can communicate triggering and inspection results directly to industrial devices over the Sony camera’s connectors through digital I/O and Ethernet protocols.

The new Sony camera comes bundled with a demonstration CD that includes a copy of NI Vision Builder AI software, which users can then license with the proper NI activation code.

The Sony XCI-SX1 model’s imaging is built around Sony’s 1/2-inch SXGA Progressive Scan B&W CCD, and operates at 15 fps at SXGA resolution and 34 fps at VGA. Similar to a PC, the camera is equipped with a high-performance X86 processor running a built-in Windows XPe operating system. A high-speed 1 GB CompactFlash card serves as storage for the operating system with ample space for the Vision Builder AI application software. A fast 256 MB DDR SDRAM module provides ample volatile memory for high-performance throughout.

The new Sony XCI-V3 model, a 1/3-inch VGA PS black and white camera that operates at 60 frames per second, is planned to join the XCI-SX1 model this Autumn. The new camera also will be available, with a copy of NI Vision Builder AI software, which can be licensed from NI.

The XPe version of the Sony XCI-SX1 Smart Camera is now available at a suggested list price of $3,975. National Instruments Vision Builder AI software is available for £995 or €1,449.

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