Communicating quickly with vision

Pleora Technologies has unveiled a beta version of high-speed PC communications software that allows imaging data to be streamed in real time between PCs connected by standard Gigabit Ethernet links.

Pleora Technologies has unveiled a beta version of high-speed PC communications software that allows imaging data to be streamed in real time between PCs connected by standard GigE (Gigabit Ethernet) links.

Today, heavy real-time processing requirements are typically met using framegrabbers and other specialized hardware, such as DSP (digital signal processing) boards. In systems for postal sorting, toll highways, and flat panel inspection, for example, this hardware allows integrators to distribute processing across multiple PCs and/or bolster the power of single PCs.

Pleora says that its new software reduces or eliminates the need for this costly hardware by allowing designers to build powerful real-time processing architectures from standard PCs, GigE NICs (network interface cards or chips), and GigE switches. The software can also be used in conjunction with framegrabbers and DSP boards, if desired.

Pleora’s software runs on an Intel NIC and typically uses less than 1% of the processing power in a P4 (Pentium 4) CPU (central processing unit). It sends and receives data between two PCs at 1 Gbit/s with low, predictable latency over a full-duplex GigE link. The PCs can be connected directly, or via a GigE switch.

On the transmit side, Pleora’s communications software takes raw data in any format from a user-defined memory buffer in the host PC, converts it to IP, and sends it at 1 Gbit/sec over ordinary Cat-5 (Category 5) copper to the destination PC. On the receive side, the software streams the data directly into the user-defined memory buffer. In both operations, the Windows IP stack is bypassed, minimising CPU usage. This ensures ample CPU capacity is available for running vision applications.

Pleora’s new communications software can be integrated with other products in the company’s iPORT Vision Connectivity Solution, including its iPORT IP Engines, which efficiently convert imaging data to IP for high-speed, low-latency GigE transport.

The engines are delivered with the iPORT IP Device Driver, PC software that transfers data to memory using almost no CPU capacity, and the iPORT Software Development Kit (SDK), which lets users develop applications based on custom code or third-party software packages.

The production version of Pleora’s new software is scheduled for release in third-quarter 2004.

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