Matrox Design Assistant 1

Matrox Design Assistant is an integrated development environment (IDE) where machine vision applications are created by constructing a flowchart instead of writing traditional program code. In addition to building a flowchart, the IDE enables users to directly design a graphical operator interface to the application.

Benefits

  • Easily and quickly solve machine vision applications without writing program code using an intuitive flowchart-based methodology
  • Tackle machine vision applications with utmost confidence using field-proven tools for analyzing, locating, measuring, reading, and verifying
  • Learn and use a single program for creating both the application logic and operator interface
  • Maximize productivity by getting instant feedback on image analysis and processing operations
  • Get immediate pertinent assistance through an integrated contextual guide
  • Communicate actions and results to other automation and enterprise equipment through discrete I/Os, RS-232 and Ethernet (TCP/IP, EtherNet/IP™ 3, MODBUS® and PROFINET)
  • Maintain control and independence through the ability to create custom flowchart steps
  • Collaborative and simultaneous application development using the device emulation mode

Application design

Flowchart and operator interface design are performed within the Matrox Design Assistant IDE hosted on a PC running Microsoft® Windows® 2. A flowchart is visually put together using a step-by-step approach, where each step is taken from an existing toolbox and is configured interactively. The toolbox includes steps for image analysis and processing, communication, flow-control, and I/O. Outputs from one step, which can be images and/or alphanumeric results, are easily linked to the appropriate inputs of any other step. Decision making is performed using a conditional step, where the logical expression is described interactively. Results from image analysis and processing steps are immediately displayed so as to enable the quick tuning of parameters. A contextual guide provides assistance for every step in the flowchart. Flowchart legibility is maintained through the ability of grouping steps into sub-flowcharts.

In addition to flowchart design, Matrox Design Assistant enables the creation of a custom, web-based operator interface to the application through an integrated HTML visual editor. Users alter an existing template using a choice of annotations (graphics and text), inputs (edit boxes, control buttons and image markers) and outputs (original or derived results, and status indicators). A filmstrip view is also available to keep track of, and navigate to, previously analyzed images. The operator interface can be further customized using a third-party HTML editor.

Matrox Design Assistant can be used with a Matrox Iris GT smart camera or in emulation mode. The latter allows for the design and testing of a flowchart and the creation of an operator interface without the need to be connected to a smart camera. Matrox Design Assistant's emulation mode is used to enable parallel project work, resulting in greater development efficiency.

Why a flowchart?

The flowchart is a universally accessible, recognized and understood method of describing the sequence of operations in a process. Manufacturing engineers and technicians in particular have all been exposed to the intuitive, logical and visual nature of the flowchart.

Create custom flowchart steps

Users have the ability to extend the capabilities of Matrox Design Assistant by way of the included Custom Step software development kit (SDK). The SDK, in combination with Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 enables the creation of custom flowchart steps using the C# programming language. These steps can implement proprietary image analysis and processing as well as proprietary communication protocols. The SDK comes with numerous project samples to accelerate development.

Application deployment

Once development is complete, the flowchart and operator interface are downloaded to, and stored locally on, the Matrox Iris GT smart camera. The flowchart is then executed on the smart camera independent of any PC. The operator interface is viewed from any PC using a web browser 4. Alternatively, the smart camera can be accessed from a stand-alone .NET application running on a PC and created using Microsoft® Visual Studio®.

Matrox Design Assistant maintenance program

Matrox Design Assistant provides registered users automatic enrollment in the maintenance program for one year. This maintenance program entitles registered users to technical support, free software upgrades and an emulation mode key from Matrox Imaging. Just before the expiration of the maintenance program, registered users will have the opportunity to extend the program for another year. For more information, refer to the Matrox Imaging Software Maintenance Programs brochure.

Customizable developer interface

The Matrox Design Assistant user interface can be tailored by each developer. The workspace can be rearranged, even across multiple monitors, to suit individual preferences and further enhance productivity.

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Samples, tutorials and training

Matrox Design Assistant includes numerous sample projects and video tutorials to help new developers quickly become productive. Matrox Imaging also offers an instructor-led training course held at Matrox headquarters and select locations worldwide.

1. This product may be protected by one or more patents. See www.matrox.com/patents.
2. Microsoft® Windows® 8 (32/64-bit), Windows® 7 SP1 (32/64-bit) or Windows® XP SP3 (32-bit).
3. Certification pending.
4. Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 8 or higher.

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