2D cameras are not the only vision systems that are available out there. Take a look at other kinds of vision systems you can find on the market. 

1D Technologies

A 1D sensor is sufficient if you want to measure the height of a part that moves on a conveyor. You could use a distance sensor that has a single laser point to measure the distance from the sensor to the surface. A single laser point is displayed on a surface and most of the time, triangulation is used to get the distance value. So it is only possible to get data for one axis with this kind of technology.

Another type of 1D sensor is a line-scan camera. It can also be used for inspections.

2D Technologies

The middle-range are the 2D scanners. These are similar to the cameras we all use in everyday life, i.e. a rectangle sensor that gives a rectangle image.

2D Cameras

With these images you get the X and Y coordinates for each pixel value and this is why it is considered a 2D system. There are many choices on the market including: various resolutions, grayscale vs color, completely integrated vs independent cameras, etc.

2D Laser Scanners

This technology is similar to the 1D single point laser, except instead of having a single laser point, we have a laser line that is analyzed. So you end up with distance measurements from the sensor (Z axis) for the whole width (Y axis) of your object. Such 2D scanners are sometimes sold as “3D profilers”, because they can be combined with the movement of the part on a conveyor to determine to the other axis (X axis).

3D Technologies

Another option is the 3D scanner. These scanners are used for reverse engineering, metrology, more exact measurements (e.g. defect depth), etc. 3D scanners use various techniques like: Shape from shading, laser triangulation, structured lighting, etc. Depending on the technique, you can either get approximate data (that can still be sufficient for your needs) in a few seconds or extra precise data that will take longer to scan & process (it could be minutes).

3D laser scanner scanning an object
3D laser scanner (Source: Robotiq.com)

Structured Light Sensors

This type of sensor will project some sort of structured light pattern onto the part and analyze the light patterns as they are being projected. Usually, two 2D cameras are used to analyze the structured light pattern. Then, algorithms combine the data to create output information.

Time of Flight Sensor

This technology is basically illuminating the part to be measured and measuring the time that it takes for the light to travel to the object and come back to the camera sensor. These are usually less accurate systems.

>>Read more by Amanda Lee, Robotiq, November 9, 2016


What Kinds of Vision Systems Are Available?