About one year ago, Nerian Vision Technologies introduced the SP1 stereo vision system, which is an innovative sensor solution for 3D depth perception. The SP1 is an embedded system that connects to two industrial cameras, which are placed at different viewing positions.Similar to human vision, the SP1 is able to infer the depth of the 3D scene, by comparing the images from both cameras.
This system is based on a programmable logic device, a so-called FPGA, which provides the necessary processing power to perform all image processing in real time. This hardware-based design lends itself to massively parallel computations, which lead to a vast performance gain when compared to software-based solutions.
Since its market launch in October 2015, Nerian has continued to enhance this system, which has let to significant performance improvements.
These enhancements have been realized through firmware updates, which means that they are also available to existing customers.
The most noticeable change to the SP1’s processing capabilities is the support for increased image resolutions. At its market launch, the SP1 only supported a small image resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. By now, this system is capable of processing images with a resolution of up to 1440 x 1440 pixels, and it can produce an equally sized depth map. This is more than a sixfold increase compared to the original specifications.
Likewise, the measurement accuracy has also increased significantly. For stereo vision, the measurement accuracy highly depends on the size of the region that is searched for image correspondences, the so called disparity range. Initially the SP1 supported a fixed ranger of 96 pixels. Since the most recent firmware update, the SP1 can now search a range of up to 256 pixels, which more than doubles the depth resolution.
When configuring the image and depth resolution, the customer has a choice between a fast processing rate or high resolution results. The customer also has the choice of cameras, their positioning, and the employed optics. This makes the SP1 one of the most flexible sensor systems that can be applied to even the most dissimilar use cases.