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Vision Resources

Vision Industry Market Data and Trends

Glossary of Machine Vision Terms

3rd Party Machine Vision Software Machine Vision software that is not bundled with hardware but instead is sold as a separate product
AGP Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) is an interface specification that enables 3D graphics to display quickly on ordinary personal computers.
Analog A type of signal in an electronic circuit that takes on a continuous range of values. The opposite of digital.
ASMV Application Specific Machine Vision System: a turnkey machine vision system that addresses a specific application found throughout one or more industries
Area Lighting Lighting used for the illumination of an area
Area Camera All cameras covering an area at once rather than a single line at a time. Area Cameras are of two types: interlaced and progressive scan.
Backlighting Placement of a light source behind an object so that a silhouette of that object is formed. It is used where outline information of the object and its features are important rather than surface features.
Bayer Conversion Conversion of Bayer color (obtained from a Bayer matrix or color filter array) into RGB color
Beamsplitter used with Diffuse Lighting Source A prismatic structure which directs a diffuse light source coaxial with the optical axis of the application. A 50/50 beamsplitter creates two beams.
Board Level Cameras CCD cameras that are not yet housed or connected to particular terminations. These devices are completely functioning units.
Board Level Lenses Fixed focal length lenses used on cameras with board-mounted sensors (regardless of their other possible characteristics)
Camera Imaging devices; devices that acquire images.
Camera Link® Camera Link® is a robust communications link using a dedicated cable connection and a standardized communications protocol.
CCD Charge-Coupled Device: a light-sensitive chip or image sensor used in scanners and digital cameras that converts light into proportional (analog) electrical current.
CMOS Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor: a new type of sensor used in scanners and digital cameras that is based upon a semiconductor process designed for digital electronics instead of analog electronics as in the CCD.
Collimation Involves the use of a collimating lens to yield parallel flux lines for a light source
Component Supplier A manufacturer of machine vision (MV) optics, lighting, cameras (excluding smart cameras/smart sensors) or third party MV software. Distributors and OEMs are not considered component suppliers.
Darkfield Illumination An illumination technique where the angle of incidence of the light relative to the surface of the object is less than 90 degrees (directly on top). As the degree of the angle decreases, less light reflects off the object's surface, thus darkening the field.
Diffuse Illumination Lighting that is uniform, soft, relatively non-directional and lacking in concentration. The opposite of point illumination.
Digital A method of storing, processing and transmitting information through the use of distinct electronic or optical pulses that represent the binary digits 0 and 1. The opposite of analog.
Distributor A supplier of machine vision products manufactured by others
Dome Lighting A spherical light source that provides even diffuse illumination
DSP Digital Signal Processor: a specialized digital microprocessor used to efficiently and rapidly perform calculations on digitized signals that were originally analog in form
Embedded Vision Computer Another name for Embedded Vision Processor
Embedded Vision Processor A configuration of machine vision equipment where a camera is tethered to a specialized, mini-computer (not a PC). Unlike the Smart Camera, the computer power for processing images is external to the camera's housing.
FFC Flat Field Correction: a CCD imager is composed of a two dimensional array of light sensitive detectors or pixels. The CCD array is mechanically quite stable with the pixels retaining a rigidly fixed geometric relationship. Each pixel within the array, however, has its own unique light sensitivity characteristics. As these characteristics affect camera performance, they must be removed through calibration. The process by which a CCD camera is calibrated is known as "Flat Fielding" or "Shading Correction".
Fixed Focal Length Lens Non-zoomed lenses where the distance between the sensor and center of the lens is fixed
FPGA Field Programmable Gate Array: a specially made digital semiconductor. With an FPGA, a design engineer is able to program electrical connections on site for a specific application.
Frame Grabber A device that interfaces with a camera and, on command, samples the video, converts the sample to a digital value (if the framegrabber is analog instead of digital) and stores that in a computer's memory. In contrast to Vision Processor boards, which have complex image processing capabilities (usually more than two functions), Frame grabbers have simple image processing capabilities (usually two or less functions).
General Purpose CPU An off-the-shelf central processing unit developed for personal computers but also deployable in other devices requiring compute power. Example: Intel Pentium processor.
General Zoom Lens Zoomed lenses without a macro capability (See "Zoom Lenses".)
GigE VisionTM "GigE " is an Ethernet protocol involving transmission rates of 1 Gbps (gigabits per second). GigE VisionTM is a new AIA standard that allows cameras to take advantage of GigE transmission rates.
Halogen Lighting A type of incandescent lamp containing a small amount of halogen
HID High-intensity discharge lamps
IEEE-1394 A high-speed data protocol involving an external bus capable of throughput up to 512 Mbps and control of up to 63 devices. Also know as "FireWire".
ILUT Input Look Up Tables (a.k.a. format RAM): used for image data manipulation, ILUTs convert digitized image data in real-time and are often used to invert, threshold, or perform grayscale translations on the image.
Imaging Sensor Chip A sub-component in a camera that converts light reflected off an image into electrical pulses for capture and manipulation
Imaging Board See "Frame Grabber" and" Image Processor Board"
Image Processor Board For purposes of the MV market study, an Image Processor Board is the same as a Vision Processor Board and Embedded Vision Processor Board. Unlike Frame grabbers, these boards are characterized by complex image processing capabilities; that is, they typically have more than 2 image processing functions. Also see "Frame grabber".
Integrated Machine Vision Product Supplier A builder of standalone (turnkey) or near standalone machine vision systems intended for sale to groups of customers. Included are producers of smart cameras/smart sensors, embedded vision processors/computers and ASMV systems. Excluded are systems created by System Integrators.
ISA/EISA Industry Standard Architecture: a 16-bit PC bus. The original PC bus architecture. Extended ISA is a bus architecture that extended the 16-bit ISA bus to 32 bits.
LED Light Emitting Diode: a special type of semiconductor diode that emits incoherent narrow-spectrum light
Lens A multi-element optical system (for purposes of the MV market study, single element lenses are not considered lenses but rather sub-components.)
Lenses for 3-Chip, Beamsplitting Prisms All fixed focal length lenses used with 3-chip CCD or CMOS color cameras (regardless of their other possible characteristics)
Lighting Products used to illuminate objects to be acquired and processed. Radiation produced by these products is either visible, (400 to 700nm) or invisible, of which there are two major types: ultraviolet (below 400nm) and infrared (above 700nm).
Line Lighting Lighting configured as a line, providing narrow, intense illumination
Line Scan Camera Cameras that use sensors that consist of a single row of photodectors. Also called a linear array camera.
LVDS Low Voltage Differential Signaling: a type of camera interface based on the RS-644 standard, which replaced RS-422
Macro Lenses Lenses that can focus sharply very close to an object to capture minute surface detail
Macro Non-
telecentric/Non-board Level Lenses
Fixed focal length lenses that can focus very close to an object to capture surface detail but cannot correct for perspective errors (parallax) and are not used for board level cameras.
Macro Zoom Lenses Zoomed lenses with a macro capability
Machine Vision (Excerpt from AIA Annual Study) By “machine vision” we mean all industrial and non-industrial applications where a combination of hardware and software provide operational guidance to devices in the execution of their functions based on the capture and processing of images.  Typically, this involves lighting to render visible the object to be imaged; optics to focus the image of the object; a camera to “see” the image; an imaging board to capture the image from the camera and convert it into data; and lastly software that is used to manipulate the digitized image to optimize operational decision-making.  It is important to note that according to our definition machine vision is not limited to the factory floor but instead extends to new, innovative applications, which broadens the scope of what has been traditionally referred to as machine vision.  Despite this, it must nevertheless be noted that most data collected for the study still represent a traditional, factory-oriented definition.  It is expected that - as the machine vision industry increasingly broadens the scope of its activities - the operational definition of machine vision will correspondingly evolve with members of AIA and the MV industry at large arriving at a consensus.
Microscopic Objectives Fixed focal length lenses used for capturing extremely small detail (regardless of their other possible characteristics)
Non-Visible Refers to infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV)
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer: a company that offers a product that uses machine vision as a value additive feature rather than as an essential component of the product. Vision is treated as a value adder and thus does not represent the central functionality of the product.
On Board Processing Refers to the presence of compute power for image processing on an image processing board
Optics Lenses and adjunct equipment such as irises, filters, mountings and mechanization
PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect: a personal computer local bus designed by Intel, which runs at 33 MHz and supports Plug and Play.
PCI Express An emerging (2004/2005) standard for high-speed graphics, likely to result in a 20% boost over 2003-era AGP 8x performance
PCMCIA Personal Computer Memory Card International Association: a standard for a credit card-size memory or input/output device that fits into a notebook, laptop or personal computer
PMC PCI Mezzanine Card: a daughtercard form factor implementation of the PCI bus specification
Polarization A process whereby light waves are restricted in the direction of their vibration
Processor Bit Rate The rate at which data is processed by a CPU
Ring Lighting Lighting with a ring configuration
Ruggedized Lens Lens capable of surviving extreme environmental conditions
Sensor Frame Rate Frame rate, sample rate, capture rate and image (or camera) speed are interchangeable terms. Measured in frames per second, the imager's speed is one of the most important considerations in motion capture analysis. The frame rate is determined after considering the speed of the event, the size of the area under study, the number of images needed to obtain all the event's essential information, and the frame rates that are available from the motion analyzer being used. For example, at 1,000 fps, a picture is taken once every millisecond.
Smart Camera A complete or near complete vision system contained in the camera body itself. Lighting and optics may or may not be included. At a minimum a Smart Camera combines a camera with image processing and MV related programs within the same housing. A smart camera is functionally equivalent to an Embedded Vision Processor. Sometimes smart cameras are called "intelligent cameras" and "Vision Sensors". The term "Vision Sensor" tends to apply to a lower-end Smart Camera.
Smart Sensor A photo sensor with minimal vision algorithms
Specularity The amount of reflectivity of an object's surface
Spot Lighting High intensity illumination directed to a specific spot
Surface Geometry The angularity of an object's surface, ranging from flat to very faceted
System Integrator A machine vision (MV) company that integrates components primarily manufactured by others to create an MV system for the specific needs of an individual customer. Work is performed by integrators on a project-by-
project basis instead of creating products for groups of customers.
Telecentric Lenses Parallax corrective lenses maintaining within a certain range of working distance a constant viewing angle at any point across the clear aperture of the objective lens, thus allowing the machine vision system to generate dimensionally accurate images for measurement
Ultra Fast Lenses Fixed focal length lenses used with high frame rate cameras for low light applications (regardless of their other possible characteristics)
USB Universal Serial Bus, an external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of 12 Mbps
Vision Processor Board A device similar to a Frame grabber that fits into a bay of a PC and contains complex image processing capabilities (usually more than two functions) and can include analysis (like blob analysis or pattern recognition). See "Frame grabber").
Vision Sensor A lower-end smart camera. A smart camera with less flexibility and programmability that is usually intended for less demanding applications.
Visible Lenses Lenses that use visible light
VL VESA Local-Bus: a local bus architecture
VME Versa Module Eurocard bus: a 32-bit bus defined by the IEEE standard 1014-1987.
Xenon Lighting A type of HID lighting principally characterized by the use of ionized Xenon gas
Zoom Lenses Lenses with variable focal lengths that have the ability to shift magnification smoothly and continuously while maintaining focus and f-stop

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