Image-processing in the near infrared spectrum is already well established in the photovoltaic industry where it is used in demanding optical inspection procedures that check solar cells for micro-cracks, which can occur during crystal growth and wafer sawing. But this technology has much more to offer and it is gaining in importance in other areas, as this article shows.
A machine vision system acquires images of an object, and then uses computers to process, analyze and measure various characteristics of that object. The purpose may be to enhance the image to see characteristics undetected to the human eye, or to analyze image data for measurement purposes. The decisions made from this information are often related to quality. For example, production line parts can be qualified as good or bad based on their shape or size, but almost any industry can benefit from machine vision systems designed for their application.