Working Principles of Line Scan Imaging

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Welcome to a different model new collection of weblog posts right here at Clearview Weblog. Over the subsequent 4 posts, we can be exploring line scan imaging.

The historical past of line scan imaging

Allow us to briefly take into account that we reside in a world of printed info. In the course of the time of the commercial revolution, exponential technological developments have been being pushed in model new industries that sought to additional the bounds of human functionality. One such space of development centered on growing strategies to scan (and transmit) this printed info that, by this level, now we have come to depend on so closely.



There have been numerous early makes an attempt at scanning and transmitting printed info and pictures remotely, some notable examples of this being Bain’s “Electrical Printing Telegraph” in 1846, Caselli’s Pantelegraph in 1860, Hummel’s Telediagraph in 1895, and Belin’s Bélinograph in 1913. The latter of which was the primary of its sort to implement a photocell to scan printed textual content and pictures, a precursor to the trendy imaging sensors of in the present day.

The fashionable age of scanning

Now let’s fast-forward to 1964, when the Xerox company patented and produced what many take into account to be the primary business fax machine of its sort. It used a sort of photographic sensor generally known as a “drum scanner” or “rotating drum scanner.” This know-how was additionally generally known as the “Xerographic scanner.”

Each the xerographic drum scanner from the previous and trendy line scan imaging share the core idea of capturing photos line-by-line. Within the drum scanner, a photoconductive drum was charged uniformly and uncovered to gentle from the doc, creating an electrostatic latent picture. This picture was then developed with toner and transferred to paper.


The Xerox 660 desktop copier, 1966. Picture credit score


This know-how dramatically advanced over the next 50+ years to the current day, the place now we have LED illuminated line scanning photocopier machines in most places of work and certainly many properties.


The common-or-garden workplace scanner is a primary instance of on a regular basis line scanning.


In trendy line scan imaging, a digicam or sensor captures particular person traces of a picture as an object strikes, constructing a whole picture sequentially. Whereas the applied sciences differ of their mechanisms and purposes, the foundational concept of capturing info in a linear method stays fixed. This line-by-line method permits for high-resolution imaging and finds purposes in numerous fields, reflecting a continuum of innovation in imaging know-how over time.


Fashionable Vieworks line scan and space scan cameras side-by-side


Line scan imaging is a specialised method inside the discipline of machine imaginative and prescient that entails capturing photos one line at a time as a substitute of capturing the whole picture suddenly. In conventional digital cameras or sensors, a snapshot of the whole scene is taken concurrently, leading to a whole picture. This is called space scan.

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Visualisation of a single space scan seize: full X & Y axis decision


Nevertheless, in line scan imaging, a single row of pixels is captured sequentially because the digicam or sensor strikes comparatively alongside the scene. These rows of pixels are then stitched collectively to kind a whole picture.


Visualisation of a single line scan seize: Full X axis decision with simply 1 pixel within the Y axis


The 2 working rules of line scan cameras revolve round their technique of capturing photos line by line, which is distinct from the extra typical space scan cameras that seize the whole picture in a single shot.

Within the context of line scan cameras, there are two elementary approaches to picture acquisition based mostly on how the digicam and the item being imaged work together:


  1. Object motion (conveyor precept):


On this technique, the item to be imaged is moved previous the stationary line scan digicam utilizing a conveyor belt or an identical mechanism. As the item strikes, the digicam captures one line of pixels at a time, increase the picture line by line. This method is usually utilized in situations the place the item could be simply transported, similar to inspecting merchandise on a manufacturing line or scanning steady supplies like materials or papers.




  1. Digicam motion (scanner precept):

Alternatively, the road scan digicam itself could be moved alongside a stationary object. That is just like how a flatbed scanner strikes a scanning head throughout a doc to create a picture. Because the digicam strikes, it captures traces of pixels and stitches them collectively to kind a whole picture. This method is appropriate when the item is troublesome to maneuver or when capturing a big object utilizing a set digicam setup.


Each of those strategies contain capturing a collection of traces to create a whole picture. This sequential course of permits line scan cameras to seize photos with increased resolutions and higher element, significantly when coping with shifting objects or objects which can be bigger than the digicam’s discipline of view.

The synchronisation between the digicam’s line seize and the item’s motion is essential in each approaches to make sure correct picture reconstruction. Any mismatch in timing might result in distortions or artifacts within the ultimate picture. That is usually achieved through the use of an encoder.

Encoders are crucially necessary items of kit that measure the road price and feeds a steady sign to the digicam. There are two varieties of encoders: rotary and linear.

Rotary encoders

Rotary encoders convert rotational motion into pulses, providing a spread of as much as 32,000 pulses per revolution, with programmable variants offering unmatched flexibility. These encoders modify the correlation between encoder ticks and pixels via configuration settings in your line scan digicam or picture acquisition card, permitting you to fine-tune the connection to your particular wants. Alerts are conveyed differentially or by way of TTL/HTL alerts, making certain seamless integration together with your {hardware} setup.

Linear encoders

Alternatively, linear encoders utilise contact-free magnetic studying heads to generate pulses, capitalising on magnetic tape affixed inside millimetres to set off actions as minuscule as 0.001 mm. Some fashions are programmable, enabling you to outline the tick depend per unit of distance, providing exact management. Much like their rotary counterparts, linear encoders additionally transmit knowledge differentially or by way of TTL alerts, aligning seamlessly with the interfaces of your picture acquisition card or line scan digicam. Whether or not rotary or linear, understanding encoder varieties empowers you to harness movement for correct and detailed machine imaginative and prescient purposes.

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Line scan imaging gives a number of distinctive benefits that make it well-suited for particular purposes inside the discipline of machine imaginative and prescient:

  1. Much less Complexity in Illumination:

    One of many largest points of interest with line scan imaging is that the lighting is far simpler to get proper than with space scan. The linear seize nature of line scan imaging signifies that solely a small space must be correctly illuminated, in contrast with space scan cameras, which want uniform lighting over the whole scene.

  2. Excessive Decision:

    Line scan cameras can obtain extraordinarily excessive resolutions since they seize photos line by line. This makes them best for purposes that require detailed and exact imaging, similar to inspecting effective textures, small elements, or intricate patterns.

  3. Steady Inspection:
    Line scan imaging is especially appropriate for inspecting lengthy or steady supplies like materials, paper, or metals. For the reason that digicam captures traces one after the opposite, it might seamlessly examine prolonged objects with out interruption.

  4. No Perspective Distortion:

    Because the decision of a line scan digicam consists of a single row of pixels, it photos an extremely correct illustration of the scene and object with no perspective distortion.

    In space scan photos, as a result of the sensor is smaller than the scene, occlusions often happen when imaging from one mounted angle. This will make the closest options of the item seem bigger than the furthest options.

    With line scan imaging, because the digicam strikes previous the item, it’s frequently taking new photos to be stitched collectively. This course of avoids occlusions current in space scan photos, thus eliminating perspective distortion.

  5. Unwrapping cylindrical objects:

    When imaging spherical or cylindrical objects, line scan cameras can ‘unwrap’ the item by rotating it whereas capturing photos. This enables for correct and undistorted inspection of curved surfaces, which works nicely in purposes similar to label inspection and verification for curved merchandise.

  6. Precision Measurements:

    Line scan imaging is great for making correct measurements, particularly when mixed with calibrated setups. It is extensively utilized in industries requiring exact measurements, similar to metrology or high quality management.

  7. Environment friendly Knowledge Transmission:

    When used with a body grabber, line scan cameras transmit picture knowledge line by line, which could be extra environment friendly than transmitting total frames of knowledge in a single go. This may be advantageous for high-resolution imaging and real-time evaluation.

  8. Much less Sensitivity to Object Measurement:

    Not like space scan cameras that require the item to suit inside their discipline of view, line scan cameras can picture objects bigger than their discipline of view by shifting the digicam or the item.


By capturing photos line by line, line scan imaging can obtain increased resolutions and detailed photos of objects in movement that is perhaps difficult to seize utilizing conventional strategies. It permits for exact evaluation of objects, identification of defects, and detailed examination of textures and constructions.

Line scan imaging is especially well-suited for situations the place capturing high-resolution photos of shifting objects or detailed textures is essential. Listed here are some conditions the place line scan imaging is usually used:

  1. Net Inspection:

    In industries like printing, packaging, and textile manufacturing, line scan cameras can be utilized to examine steady supplies (like paper or cloth) as they transfer via a course of. This ensures that no imperfections or defects go unnoticed.

  2. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing:

    Within the pharmaceutical {industry}, line scan imaging can be utilized to examine capsule coatings, labels, and different product particulars on a manufacturing line.

  3. Excessive-Decision Imaging:

    For purposes that require extraordinarily high-resolution photos, similar to scanning paintings, historic paperwork, or cultural artifacts, line scan imaging can present detailed and correct outcomes.

  4. Materials Inspection:

    Line scan imaging can assist determine microscopic defects or inconsistencies in supplies like semiconductors or digital elements. As an illustration, line scan imaging is proving significantly helpful for producing high-resolution scans of lithium-ion batteries, together with these utilized in electrical autos (EVs).

There’s heaps extra to cowl with line scan imaging, and we are going to proceed to tug again the curtain on this matter within the subsequent few weblog posts. As we’ve lined, the working precept of line scan cameras depends on capturing photos line-by-line both by shifting the item previous a stationary digicam or by shifting the digicam alongside a stationary object. This method to machine imaginative and prescient allows the seize of detailed and high-resolution photos, making line scan cameras beneficial instruments in varied purposes inside the realm of machine imaginative and prescient.

Need to discover out extra about revamping a imaginative and prescient system or automating industrial processes? Look no additional – get in contact with us. Additionally, make sure to take a look at our nice vary of good cameras and machine imaginative and prescient software program over in our merchandise part!

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Right here at Clearview, now we have a broad vary of data and machine imaginative and prescient experience that can assist you determine on the best resolution to your undertaking.

We provide pleasant experience and an enormous vary of industry-standard high quality machine imaginative and prescient elements for printing and packaging, robotics, industrial automation, medication, life sciences, and the automotive {industry}, simply to call just a few.

Our consultants are glad to assist it doesn’t matter what your query or downside could also be. Be at liberty to get in contact with us and one among our machine imaginative and prescient consultants can be prepared that can assist you get going together with your undertaking.

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