Basler Chooses Blackfin to Deliver the Sharpest Image Quickly
Basler Vision Technologies, based in Ahrensburg, Germany prides itself on achieving the highest image quality for a variety of industrial video applications. Their new range of surveillance cameras is no exception. These are the most advanced security cameras that Basler has delivered to date, and they meet very aggressive performance targets, while also hitting industry leading power, price and feature goals. The Basler design team, firsttime Blackfin users, credits the Analog Devices Blackfin BF561 and the excellent design support- development boards, software modules, training, and software development tools for the impressive and timely results.
This is the first Basler camera design that has been based on a Blackfin processor. Previous models were based on FPGAs and microcontrollers, but the challenges faced in the design of the new products dictated a different approach. The performance bar had been raised significantly, while pricing, power dissipation and time-to-market were tightly constrained. Pure Blackfin performance was a key to achieving the high throughput in multi-stream video compression, motion detection, packet processing and real-time streaming requirements. Blackfin's excellent performance/price and performance/power figures were also compelling, since the camera was specified to run on PoE (Power over Ethernet) to eliminate a separate power cable, thus simplifying setup for all nodes, but particularly nodes where power is not readily available. Strong development tools such as the GNU toolchain, were a definite plus for the engineering team, which was very familiar with the open-source tools.
The camera development team started prototyping their design with an ADI EZ-KIT Lite Evaluation board using VisualDSP++ and GNU tools* with uClinux*. The open source community also provides a wide range of proven software solutions for Blackfin, particularly in the area of internet connectivity. Basler was also able to make use of software modules for image and video compression from ADI and other third party developers. The rich Blackfin eco-system allowed the team to quickly meet all of the design specifications.
The result of this effort is a high-end surveillance camera that provides multiple streams of real-time compressed video over an Ethernet network. The power is under 5 Watts including the imager, converter, Blackfin processor, memory, voltage regulator and FPGA. Blackfin is performing the video acquisition, compression, white balance and iris control for optimal image quality, motion detection and event management, as well as IP packet processing, real-time streaming, and web serving.
* The Blackfin uClinux community maintains and distributes this software.
Visit the Basler Vision Technologies site to learn more.
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