Matrox Design Assistant1

Matrox Design Assistant is an integrated development environment (IDE) for Microsoft® Windows® where vision applications are created by constructing an intuitive flowchart instead of writing traditional program code. In addition to building a flowchart, the IDE enables users to design a graphical web-based operator interface for the application. Since Matrox Design Assistant is hardware independent, choose any computer with GigE Vision® or USB3 Vision® cameras and get the processing power needed. Work with multiple cameras all within the same project, or per project running concurrently and independently from one another2. This field-proven software is also a perfect match for a Matrox vision controller or the Matrox Iris GTR smart camera. Matrox Design Assistant offers the freedom to choose the ideal platform for any vision project.

Matrox Design Assistant at a glance
Solve machine vision applications efficiently by constructing flowcharts instead of writing program code
Choose the best platform for the job within a hardware-independent environment that supports Matrox smart cameras and vision controllers, and third-party PCs with GigE Vision or USB3 Vision cameras
Tackle machine vision applications with utmost confidence using field-proven tools for analyzing, locating, measuring, reading, and verifying
Use a single program for creating both the application logic and operator interface
Work with multiple cameras all within the same project or per project running concurrently and independently from one another2
Interface to third-party 3D sensors to process and analyze their depth map
Rely on a common underlying vision library for the same results with a Matrox smart camera, vision system, or third-party computer
Maximize productivity with instant feedback on image analysis and processing operations
Receive immediate, pertinent assistance through an integrated contextual guide
Communicate actions and results to other automation and enterprise equipment equipment via discrete Matrox I/Os, RS-232, and Ethernet (TCP/IP, EtherNet/IP™3, Modbus®, PROFINET®, and native robot interfaces)
Maintain control and independence through the ability to create custom flowchart steps
Increase productivity and reduce development costs with Matrox Vision Academy online and on-premises training
Protect against inappropriate changes with the Project Change Validator tool

Application design

Flowchart and operator interface design are done within the Matrox Design Assistant IDE hosted on a computer running 64-bit Windows. A flowchart is 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 to permit the quick tuning of parameters. A contextual guide provides assistance for every step in the flowchart. Flowchart legibility is maintained by 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.

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® 2017 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.

Custom Step SDK

Custom Step SDK

 

Release X highlights

  • Multiple run-times allow for multiple independent projects to concurrently execute on the same platform
  • Interface to third-party 3D sensors to process and analyze their depth map
  • Photometric stereo tool enhances surface irregularities such as embossed or engraved features, scratches or indentations
  • Classification step that leverages deep learning to inspect images of highly textured, naturally varying, and acceptably deformed goods
  • Shape finding tools for locating circular, elliptical, rectangular, and line segment features

Application deploymentClick to enlarge

Once development is complete, the project, with flowchart and operator interface, is deployed either locally or remotely. Local deployment is to the samecomputer or Matrox vision controller as was used for development. Remote deployment is to a different computer, including a Matrox vision controller or a Matrox smart camera.

Project templates for quicker start-up

Matrox Design Assistant includes a series of project templates and video tutorials to help new developers get up and running quickly.

These templates serve as either functional applications or application frameworks intended as a foundation for a target application. Templates also permit dynamic modifications, allowing users to tweak functionality at run-time and immediately see the outcome of any adjustments. The project templates address typical application areas, with examples for:

  • Barcode and 2D code reading
  • Presence / Absence
  • Recipes
  • Robot guidance (Pick-and-Place)
  • Dot-matrix text reading (SureDotOCR®)

More information on templates can be found on the Quick Start page of Matrox Design Assistant software.

Matrox Design Assistant software dashboard
Project templates

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.

Click to enlarge

1. This software may be protected by one or more patents; see www.matrox.com/patents for more information.
2. Platform permitting.
3. Certification pending.

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