Image Acquisition and Archiving

Also:
300mm Semiconductor Defect Review
300mm Semiconductor Factory Automation
High Speed Turbine Controller

Technologies, Tools and Standards Employed:
.NET, C#, Visual Basic.NET, Imagenation PXC200 Frame Grabber board

Problem:
The basic design problem was to import a TV signal from a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and capture it for live viewing on a PC, thereby making the image available for viewing, archiving and processing on the PC.  Previously, the TV image was viewable only at the SEM console and was not available to be saved or processed, except by an instant developing camera.

Solution:
The solution involved first to specify a PC based frame grabber board that would import a TV rate signal.  Since there are several boards available we looked for a board that would provide both color and monochrome capability, was inexpensive and very reliable.  Next it was necessary to choose a PC development platform.  Our choice was basically whether to go with .NET or to use the older, better known Win32 platform, using DLL's and MFC for the main application.  We chose to use .NET, as it's support for graphics is very advanced and its emergence into the mainstream of programming means it will be supported for some years to come.  It was, however, not clear if the GDI+ graphics routines used by .NET would be sufficiently fast to update a PC display 30 times per second without visibly hampering other PC activities such as printing or mouse movement.  After much testing of the chosen frame grabber board with .NET test code, we concluded that .NET and GDI+ are fast enough to display a TV rate image and could be used for our development platform.

This application was developed rapidly and efficiently for the customer, allowing Acorn to keep the per-unit price at a minimum.  The product is now being provided on an OEM basis to our customer.

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