Embedded Vision Alliance Enables 'Machines That See'

June 20, 2011
New industry-wide initiative will empower engineers with practical information, know-how, and standards for adding computer vision capabilities to their products 
More than 15 leading technology companies—including some of the largest semiconductor companies—have joined forces to speed the adoption of computer vision capabilities in electronic products.  The new alliance sees the that the ability of machines to see and understand their environments—dubbed “embedded vision”—promises to transform the electronics industry with products that are more intelligent and aware of their environments, and to create significant new markets for electronic equipment and components.  The new consortium, called the Embedded Vision Alliance(EVA  www.embedded-vision.com), will enable the proliferation of embedded vision technology by providing design engineers with information, practical know-how and industry standards. “Adding computer vision to embedded systems creates phenomenal new products, markets, and opportunities,” according to Jeff Bier, president of Berkeley Design Technology Inc., consultants specializing in embedded processor technology and applications.  “Just look at the Microsoft Kinect, which added vision to the Xbox 360—it became the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history, shipping more than 10 million units in five months.  But that’s just a small part of the story.  From automobiles that prevent accidents to security cameras that prevent crimes, embedded vision will proliferate across a multitude of markets.” Bier told Automation World Editor in Chief Gary Mintchell, “We think vision is where wireless was 20 years ago. It will go from a niche application to widely used, because chips are becoming more powerful and less expensive. Another ingredient is that embedded know-how keeps growing.” BDTI, Xilinx, and IMS Research initiated the Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) and are being joined by Analog Devices, Apical, Avnet Electronics Marketing, CEVA, CogniVue, Freescale, MathWorks, National Instruments, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, Tokyo Electron Device, Ximea, and XMOS as founding members. These companies share the belief that incorporating vision capabilities into future products will bring dramatic benefits to users and provide high-growth opportunities in consumer, medical, automotive, entertainment, industrial and retail markets. “The momentum behind embedded vision applications is growing at an astounding rate, and industry collaboration is needed to enable the technology’s smooth adoption in new markets,” said Vin Ratford, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and business development at Xilinx. “Xilinx is excited to be a founding member of the new Embedded Vision Alliance and looks forward to a long, successful partnership with the Alliance members. Through this collaboration—and by delivering the right combination of performance, price points and flexibility to intelligently manage and act upon vast amounts of real-time image data within the parameters of industry standards—our programmable platforms are poised to open up a new world for systems development,” Ratford added. As a first step, the Embedded Vision Alliance is launching a website at www.embedded-vision.com. The site will serve as a source of practical information that will help design engineers incorporate vision capabilities into new systems. The EVA’s future plans include newsletters, educational webinars, industry reports, technology standards, and related activities. Everyone is free to access the information on the website, which is maintained through member and industry contributions.  Membership information is also available at the site. Bier told Mintchell that the first priority is education, but that getting vendors to provide useful knowledge beyond promotional material, and developing a community, are subsequent priorities. Perhaps leading development of standards will follow. Ian Weightman, president of market research firm IMS Research, declared: “IMS Research is proud to be one of the founding members of the Embedded Vision Alliance. The EVA shares our vision of a future where embedded computer vision positively impacts many aspects of our daily lives. With hundreds of companies now developing embedded vision components, products and applications, the EVA can become the pivotal hub that not only educates companies on the potential of embedded vision, but also enables the industry to share ideas and best practices. This will be essential for the technology to reach its true potential, and we look forward to supporting the Embedded Vision Alliance in its objectives.”Gary Mintchell, [email protected], is Editor in Chief of Automation World.

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