Standards: GenICam, GigE Vision, status, ratification timing

Progress on two industry standards, GigE Vision and GenICam, could make machine vision more efficient.


Burlington, MA – Leading technical representatives from the machine vision industry met to discuss progress on two industry standards, GigE Vision and GenICam, April 7-10, in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Leutron Vision's Czech subsidiary hosted meetings for GenICam and GigE Vision standardization committees.
"GenICam and GigE Vision fundamentally contribute to the evolution of our industry," said Stefan Thommen, vice president of Leutron Vision. "Their implementation remains one of our top priorities. This is why we are a key contributor to both standards." The standards could make machine vision more efficient and easier to use.
The four-day session was a success with the drafting of the GenICam module: GenICam Transport Layer (GenTL), which defines image and data transfers. Improvements were also introduced in the modules GenICam Application Programming Interface (GenApi) and Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC).
The GigE Vision committee discussed most of the open issues remaining in the new standard version, 1.1, which could be ratified in second-half 2008. Version 1.1 will bring significant improvements, while preserving backward compatibility with the original version 1.0.
GigE Vision is a standard developed through the Automated Imaging Association (AIA) for the development and accessibility of automated imaging technology to a larger audience. The goal is to define a protocol of communication between compliant Ethernet based cameras and application host hardware. GigE Vision transfers images from camera to computer. This protocol has been developed on Gigabit Ethernet technology, but will apply seamlessly to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. GigE Vision provides device detection and network configuration through the Device Discovery component. Communication with compliant devices is done through the GigE Vision Control Protocol (GVCP), and image streaming with GigE Vision Streaming Protocol (GVSP). The latter module offers transmission error recovery. Low-level parameters for all the standard features are set through Bootstrap Registers.
GenICam, a standard developed through European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) , defines a universal application programming interface (API) to receive images in a machine vision application. GenICam is an abstraction of the ultimate camera interface and allows software applications to receive images from a variety of devices. GenICam consists of three modules: GenICam Application Programming Interface (GenApi), which describes how to define and interpret imaging devices features; Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC), which sets the list of features of an imaging device; and the new GenICam Transport Layer (GenTL), which defines image and data transfers independent of technology and allows enumeration and identification of devices in the system.
"GenICam allows for real interoperability between hardware and software manufacturers," said Leutron’s Thommen. "It means that users get a wider range of products to accomplish the tasks of image generation/transfer and processing. It also means that highly specialized hardware companies like us can continue providing state of the art products without worrying about software compatibility."
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