Today, we expect new technologies to come to market very quickly. The truth is it takes many years to realize the full benefits of a new technology. Consider the cell phone. Wikipedia’s History of Mobile Phones tells us it all started with mobile car phones in the mid 1940s, with the first handheld mobile conversation taking place in 1973 (some 33 years later!). In 1984, while working at Motorola, I had my first cell phone conversation using a phone the size of a brick, with service limited to Toronto only. Jump ahead 30 years and most of the industrialized world has cell phone service. My point? Cell phone infrastructure took time to expand, and during its expansion, the hand-held cell phone became even more useful – smart, even.
A recent example from our industry is the introduction of HSLink by Teledyne DALSA in 2010. Over the last 2 years, HS Link components have been well received by our customers; the cameras and their associated frame grabber represent one of our most successful new technology introductions. Contributing to our success with HS Link was a decision early on to use proven off-the-shelf 10 GigE-CX4 phy components and cabling. In some applications, our cameras are in constant motion and customers found that standard cables break after repeated cycling. Cable vendors have responded and are continuing to make improvements in the flex life time of the cable. Recently, Hewtech announced a cable capable of a cycle life time of 5 million – an improvement that will further enable the deployment of HSLink components and benefit the new CLHS standard.
CLHS will continue to evolve and get better with age (like fine wine). Its architecture is optimized to meet the unique needs of machine vision and takes advantage of the high performance, low cost technologies found in telecommunications.
Looking even 5 years out, I see many high-speed, low cost CMOS cameras capable of frame by frame operating changes that fill the need for flexible, faster and higher resolution inspections. These cameras will be attached via low cost fiber optic cables to CLHS frame grabbers and powerful PC processing software. And in 10 years, cameras will employ FPGAs with direct fiber optic connection enabling CLHS serial link speeds over 40 Gbps.