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Cognex Corporation Enters Into New Markets for Machine Vision Systems

Cognex Corporation

NATICK, Mass. -- April 14, 2003 --  Special-purpose vision sensor will be company's first product for non-industrial applications of its machine vision technology Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX), the world's leading supplier of machine vision systems used in factory automation, announced today that it has recently developed innovative vision technology that will soon be incorporated into low-cost vision sensors for new markets and applications where machine vision sensors have never before been successfully employed.

‘‘Since our founding in 1981, Cognex has focused its engineering talent on designing vision systems for industrial applications, such as controlling the manufacture and ensuring the quality of products ranging from automotive tires to computer chips,’‘ said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Cognex's Chairman and CEO. ‘‘But, we've always known that there were many applications for our vision technology outside of the industrial arena...for example to automatically recognize faces of customers at ATM machines, to automatically determine the size of a person sitting in a passenger seat in order to control air bag deployment, and to automatically determine the distance between moving vehicles. And now, because of the increased performance and decreased price of computer hardware, we can design vision-based products for some of these high-volume applications that require high speed, high accuracy and high reliability, but very low cost.’‘

The company's first product designed specifically for these new, non-industrial applications is called the Cognex CPS-1000. The CPS-1000 is a vision sensor designed for door security; it will detect and count people as they pass through an access-controlled doorway. The CPS-1000 utilizes Cognex's existing vision software, as well as patented 2D and 3D vision technology that Cognex has recently developed specifically for ‘‘people sensing’‘ applications.

To help specify this product and to bring it quickly to market, Cognex has entered into a multi-year agreement with Horton Automatics, a leading manufacturer of automatic doors headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas. Under the agreement, Cognex will develop and manufacture the CPS-1000 and will provide the sensors, on an OEM basis, to Horton. Horton will integrate the CPS-1000 into its secure automatic doors and portals, which control access to facilities such as airports, government buildings, industrial clean rooms and computer network rooms. The CPS-1000 will be used to prevent unauthorized personnel from entering secure areas by ‘‘piggybacking’‘ or ‘‘tailgating’‘ on the entry or exit of another person.

‘‘Even though a human observer can readily detect piggybacking and tailgating, it is very, very challenging to make silicon as smart as protoplasm,’‘ commented Sanjay Nichani, Cognex's lead developer of the CPS-1000. ‘‘Designing a sensor that can work 'out of the box' in an uncontrolled environment, where lighting and shadows are unpredictable, is something that requires many years of both advanced academic study and practical machine vision experience. Fortunately, the engineers on my team at Cognex have both!’‘

‘‘Our industry has been looking for a reliable solution to this problem for a very long time,’‘ said Bob McGovern, President of Horton Automatics. ‘‘After extensive review, we chose Cognex because of their market leadership and their many years of experience in solving very challenging, real-world applications. We expect that the addition of the CPS-1000 technology to our products will further strengthen Horton's position as the leading supplier of security doors and portals.’‘

Horton Automatics is the leading U.S. manufacturer of automatic entrance products for security applications, with the most extensive research and development program in the industry. Products manufactured by Horton Automatics include swinging, sliding, revolving, telescoping, bifolding and industrial doors, along with automatic pass-thru serving windows. Horton Automatics is a division of Overhead Door Corporation, a Sanwa Shutter Company.

Cognex Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, and markets machine vision systems, or computers that can ‘‘see.’‘ Cognex is the world's leader in the machine vision industry, having shipped more than 175,000 vision systems, representing over $1.3 billion in cumulative revenue, since the company's founding in 1981. Cognex's Modular Vision Systems Division, headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, specializes in machine vision systems that are used for automating the manufacture of a wide range of discrete items and for assuring their quality.

Cognex's Surface Inspection Systems Division, headquartered in Alameda, California, specializes in machine vision systems which are used for inspecting the surfaces of products manufactured in a continuous fashion, such as metals, paper, plastics, and nonwovens. In addition to its corporate headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, Cognex also has regional offices located throughout North America, Japan, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Visit Cognex on-line at http://www.cognex.com.

Cognex Corporation
Robin Pratt

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