All machine vision systems need cameras, and this is where the German camera specialist Basler comes in. Not only do they offer a full range of cameras and accessories, they also have the tools to set them to work. In this review we will look at such a tool, the Dart BCON for LVDS development kit.

Embedded vision

Typical machine vision and imaging systems consist of one or more cameras connected to an image processor, often a PC. Embedded vision systems, on the other hand, do the image processing in the embedded system itself. As such it can add machine learning and image recognition to existing applications, and enable new applications. Self-driving cars for instance, capable of detecting pedestrians and the lines on the road, rely on embedded vision technologies.

Basler Dart BCON for LVDS development kit
The Dart BCON for LVDS development kit (source: Basler).

Dart BCON for LVDS development kit

The name of this kit contains three terms that need further explaining in order to fully understand the purpose of the kit.

Dart is the name of the type of the camera included in the kit. The camera in the kit is a 5 MP (2,592 × 1,944 pixels) daA2500-14lc colour area-scan camera capable of 14 fps (frames per second). It supports S-mount lenses, but CS-mount versions exist too. The ‘l’ in the type number indicates that it has an LVDS interface.
Dart BCON for LVDS portfolio
Dart BCON for LVDS cameras: S-mount (in the back), CS-mount (middle) & bare board (front, source: Basler).

LVDS — low-voltage differential signalling — is the electrical interface of the camera. LVDS is particularly suitable for embedded systems as it allows for very compact assemblies. Dart cameras also exist with USB 3.0, and a MIPI interface is announced for Q4 of 2018.

BCON — Basler Connectivity, an adaptation of the industry standard Camera Link — was developed especially for embedded systems. BCON is comparable to Camera Link’s Base configuration and uses a single 4-channel Channel Link transmitter over a single cable.

What else is in the kit?

The other hardware found in the kit is a processor board, a base board to hold everything together, a power supply, a USB cable, an Ethernet cable and some nuts & bolts (it is a kit after all).