The versatile uEye SE cameras from IDS Imaging Development Systems are ideally suited to laboratory automation applications.
The wide choice of CMOS sensors and a choice of USB or GigE interfaces means that cameras can be precisely matched to the particular application. The latest generation of these cameras are available with GigE and USB 3.1 Type-C connections and can be supplied in a robust, dust proof housing with a C-mount lens connection or as a board stack version with or without a C-mount connector.
The first 25 models in this new generation feature a broad range of CMOS sensors with rolling or global shutter from Sony (including Pregius IMX253, IMX304, IMX255, and IMX267 sensors with 8.9 and 12.3 megapixel resolution), ON Semiconductor and e2v. An integrated 128 MB memory decouples image acquisition from transmission, making the uEye SE particularly interesting for multi-camera applications.
IDS has published a Case Study highlighting how the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology in Germany has developed an automated inspection system using four laboratory robots equipped with a total of eight IDS uEye SE cameras. The application involves biological studies of zebrafish in 96 well micro plates.
Cameras are used for a variety of tasks ranging from checking the fish as soon as they are pipetted into the microplate to further inspections at different stages of experimentation. A parallel microscope equipped with four cameras capture images of the fish larvae in the chambers of the microplate, enabling a large number of microplates to be inspected quickly using single images or image sequences. The module captures 96 images – all 96 chambers on a microplate in around 30 seconds allowing an exceptionally fast preliminary analysis to be carried out with a large number of specimens. By comparison, conventional high resolution laboratory microscopes take over two minutes, and also generate an unnecessarily large volume of data.
Two cameras are also used on a microscope to inspect the larval heartbeat, and another camera with exceptional low light sensitivity is used to capture fluorescence images in another experiment. A mixture of USB 2.0 and GigE cameras are used in this application, with cameras chosen for the particular response, resolution and throughput needed at each inspection stage. With a compact size and simple screw-on housings, the cameras can easily be mounted even though space on the robot stations is limited.
State of the art machine vision software extracts the required information from the images and decides on the subsequent process based on its algorithms. Image analysis is carried out with the well-known LabView software, which is also used to control the robots. The uEye SE cameras are connected using a plug-in specially developed by IDS for LabView.
The new GigE SE models are optionally equipped with the IDS Software Suite or support for GigE Vision Standards. The IDS Software Suite is identical for all lDS cameras, regardless of whether they have a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, or GigE connection. This enables optimum use of the camera and sensor features.