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Helping Machine Vision Find the Light Machine Vision Lighting Inc. IP

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Machine Vision Lighting offers uniform illumination systems to enable automated parts inspection

Machine vision is used to automate assembly line parts inspection. Yet the effectiveness of machine vision is, in fact, largely determined by lighting. Machine Vision Lighting Inc. offers a revolutionary new approach to lighting that enables uniform illumination across the entire surface of an object, as well as one-step 3-D scanning.

For machine vision image processing to function effectively, illumination must be uniform so subtle differences in a surface can be detected. A conventional light source will irradiate an object differently depending on variations in the angle of the light, but Machine Vision Lighting’s variable irradiation solid angle lighting system enables irradiation evenly across the surface of an object regardless of the distance from or angle to the light source, facilitating easy identification of very slight variations in the light.


Machine Vision Lighting Inc.’s variable irradiation solid angle lighting systems; courtesy of Machine Vision Lighting Inc.

Patented in Japan and with patents pending in major markets abroad, this system can also irradiate an object with multiple layers of RGB (red, green and blue) light. By setting each color to a different angle of incidence, slight differences in depth will register as different colors, making it easier to observe surface irregularities such as dents or depressions. “With this technology, you can immediately take a 3-D photograph,” explains Machine Vision Lighting CEO and President Shigeki Masumura. This makes the system much simpler than conventional laser scans, which will furthermore struggle to get clear images of metals and other reflective, glossy surfaces.

Light of a Different Hue

Masumura is not an optical specialist by trade, with the bulk of his career spent as a researcher in microcomputers for a large Japanese manufacturer. “The very fact that I’m not an optical specialist is probably why I was able to develop this new method,” he says. “Many specialists at optical manufacturers were astonished that something like this could be done.” Masumura was even the first to pioneer the phrase “machine vision lighting,” now common in the industry, and has written three books on the subject.


Shigeki Masumura, CEO and President of Machine Vision Lighting Inc.

Casting Abroad

Having launched in 2014, Masumura’s Tokyo-based company has already been shortlisted for the VISION Award, to be presented at the European Machine Vision Association’s VISION 2016 exhibition in Germany in November, the industry’s largest event.

Machine Vision Lighting also participated in TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 in San Francisco, and is actively looking for development partners such as equipment manufacturers and system integrators. Several Japanese companies have already adopted its technology for prototype machines, and Masumura hopes to gain a foothold in the U.S. and European markets within a year.

While the benefits of variable irradiation solid angle lighting are most obvious for automated industrial inspection, Masumura says the same technology is critical to a variety of industries. “Inspection technology is really needed in areas ranging from medical and pharmaceutical, to food, machine parts and semiconductors,” he says. Whatever the field, Machine Vision Lighting can offer better vision for the future.

Based on interview in October 2016

*In November 2016, Machine Vision Lighting became the both the first Japanese company and the first lighting company to win the VISION Award at the European Machine Vision Association’s VISION 2016 exhibition in Germany.

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courtesy of Machine Vision Lighting Inc.