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Types of Robotic Vision Systems

The development of robotic vision systems has significantly advanced the scope of robot applications. Industrial robots guided by machine vision are capable of handling more complex processes. For instance, a FANUC M-20ia integrated with a vision system can automate inspection processes for quality control of finished products before they are packaged for shipment. Its vision system allows it to detect microscopic defects too small for a human to see. Robotic vision systems can be one or multi-dimensional. Having an understanding of each vision system type will help you determine which one will be best suited for your application.

1D Robotic Vision

1D vision systems involve the use of one-dimensional cameras to analyze the digital signal of a single group of lines at a time and compare variations between previous and current line groups. Robots with 1D cameras are typically used to inspect the surface of parts manufactured in a continuous process. 1D vision systems are the least common type in robotics since many manufacturers are looking to automate more complex processes.

2D Robotic Vision

2D vision systems are the most common type of robotic vision. 2D systems can provide views of objects on both X and Y planes. There are two types of 2D vision systems, area scans and line scans. Area scans provide a 2D snapshot of an object but are limited when it comes to capturing rounded parts. Line scan vision builds a 2D image by capturing each line of a part and piecing them together to form it as a whole, similar to how a document scanner works. Line scans are often used in tight spaces, for cylindrical parts, and to capture continuously moving objects in high resolution.

Both types are best for simpler applications involving a high level of repeatability. Processes involving the picking of the same part type over and over from the same location would be a good fit for 2D robotic vision. The FANUC LR Mate 200id is an ideal choice for deploying 2D vision for simple pick and place applications.

3D Robotic Vision

3D vision systems have been gaining popularity in the robot world in recent years. 3D systems provide imagery feedback to robots on all six degrees of freedom of an object, similar to viewing an object in real life. Robotic 3D vision has advanced the depth of robot applications. With 3D vision systems robots have the autonomy to recognize and determine how to adjust to variations in part types, locations, orientation, environment, and applications while operating. These vision systems can be used for assembly, pick and place, part transfer, palletizing, and even welding applications. Integrating 3D vision with the ABB IRB 2600 gives it the ability to automate complex assemblies due to enhanced visual guidance.

4D Robotic Vision

The future of robotic vision systems will most likely be moving towards 4D. In 2017 engineers at Stanford University developed a 4D camera that can be integrated with robots. While the camera is still being tested and going through prototyping researchers are excited about its potential. The 4D system captures 140 degrees of information to identify features including depth, finish, shape, and transparency. Images can even be refocused to allow robots to see through obstructions.

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