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Vision Systems Questions
I am looking for a low cost solution to sort golf balls by make and model. We intend to use OCR as part of this solution. Since most ball manufacturers use alpha/numeric model numbers and logos. The challenge is getting the right orientation of text and logo for reading. Is it possible to read in multiple orientation?
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Hi Chris, I am afraid that there will be no low cost solution to this. There are 2 ways one can approach this: a) Try to find an application and system integrator for design in the application b) Hire additional employee who is good at image processing for in house design and buy off the shelf appropriate hardware b) option is cheaper and better on the long run. a) option can be and will be extremely expensive and you will be left without in-house expertise. We can help you with Frame Grabber and possibly cameras.
Chris, Why not just use pattern matching, as opposed to reading characters. This would include logo and characters. Is this an option for you? -A.
Hi Chris, The short answer is "yes." Some OCR algorithms can handle random orientation. However, you will likely need to warp the image to correct for the curved surface of each ball. Any certainly you will need many views of each ball to get the necessary information. Let me know if we can help.
Why not capture the ball in flight? We have looked at a light many different times for an application like this but have not actually built one. Drop the golf ball thru a sphere or a cylinder. Multiple cameras are used to cover the balls surface. The cylinder or sphere is made of white semi-opaque diffuser and is lit by LED's covering the outside of it. This will produce a uniform/homogenous light on the ball (may be a small shadow where there are holes for the cameras to view).
Chris, We've looked at something similar in the past. It never moved forward as there were a few issues that drove the costs up: Variety: 29 types of Titleist balls alone. Many other brands as well with many ball types. Ball Condition: A lot of these balls were recovered from ranges / courses and being sorted for resale so they weren't in mint condition. Portions of the logos could be scraped off. Other Logos: Many balls are given away with tournament logos, corporate sponsor logos, etc. as well as marks people put on them so there are many features added that we don't want to sort on. We'd be happy to assist. We spent a lot of time studying the problem last time free of charge. From that prior effort I don't think there's a cheap way to solve it, but simplifying assumptions could be made to reduce the cost.
Chris, Depending on what you mean by "low cost" a solution is to drop the balls through the air and image the entire surface at on time with multiple cameras. There are systems that will then stitch the image together so you can identify each ball.