Machine Vision for Medical Industry

The Medical Industry are benefiting from the expanding use of digital image acquisition and processing with cameras being used widely within medical, microscopy, and life science applications.

As the industry convert from earlier analogue systems to more powerful and capable digital devices, so too does the expansion in the range of applications for image guided surgical and diagnostic systems. Some of the most successful areas include:


MEDICINE AND DIAGNOSTICS: Includes such as areas as ophthalmology, dermatology, dental medicine, and pathology.

OPHTHALMOLOGY: Demand for ophthalmic imaging solutions is increasing due to an aging population, early disease recognition and increased incidence of visual impairment. Typical applications include cornea and the retina measurement.

BIOMEDICAL MICROSCOPES:  Used for multi-colour imaging of live & fixed cells and tissue samples, as well as high-content screening. A variety of biomedical applications include Light Microscopy, Fluorescence Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, Live Cell Imaging (Invitro Diagnostic) and Surgical & Diagnostic Microscopes.

LIVE CELL IMAGING (INVITRO DIAGNOSTICS): Insights into dynamic cellular processes, including development, movement, cell growth and transport processes within the cell, can only be acquired through observation of live cells and organisms.  One of the greatest challenges for the application is preserving life in the cells, tissue and organisms during the observational phase. Optimised camera systems make this task much easier.  Maximum imaging speeds and high sensitivities and resolutions are essential to avoiding unnecessary exposures and minimising photo-toxic effects.

FLUORESCENCE MICROSCOPY: Is a special form of light microscopy. It works by detecting the light emissions from special fluorescent dyes (fluorochromes) excited into re-emitting light through exposure to light of a specific wavelength. There are a variety of different fluorochromes, in fluorescent colours ranging from blue/purple to a long-wave red. Why not check out Basler’s PowerPack for Microscopy enhanced for Fluorescence Imaging?

SURGICAL MICROSCOPES: Diagnostic and surgical microscopes are increasingly used in areas of medical diagnostics (such as ophthalmology, ENT and dentistry) as well as minimally invasive surgery and micro-surgery (including neurosurgery, plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery and spinal surgery).

INDUSTRIAL MICROSCOPES: Used in Laboratory Equipment and Automation in processes such as Light and Confocal Microscopy.

LIGHT MICROSCOPY: Many routine microscopic applications in biomedical and clinical laboratory settings, including histology, cell biology, hematology and medical microbiology, based on light microscopy employing various illumination and contrasting procedures.

CONFOCAL MICROSCOPY: Confocal microscopy is a special variant of light microscopy. It is often used for material analysis, in microelectronics or solar and semiconductor industries, for example for 3D topographical examinations, surface or thickness measurements.


Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) is a natural choice for video transmission within diagnostic imaging systems, due to its long-distance reach, networking capabilities, and ability to support a range of computing platforms. Many medical systems output images over a Camera Link® or LVDS connection. These interfaces suffer from bulky cables and connectors and short maximum cable distances – serious issues when images need to be transmitted through an umbilical connection.

Real-time video and high-quality images that are essential to the surgeon can only be achieved with network interfaces that are reliable, easily configurable, and low maintenance. Both GigE Vision over Ethernet and USB3 Vision over USB 3.0 achieve these objectives. By having all devices connected to a local network and using a common interface topology, multiple image streams from different sensors or detectors can be transmitted to any combination of PCs, processing units, and displays. This approach simplifies the implementation of advanced multi-stream applications, and substantially reduces the need for costly custom cabling.

The benefits that GigE Vision & USB3 interface bring can be achieved regardless of your cameras interface with the use of the Pleora Technologies interface convertor products.

In the diagram, an x-ray detector sends images over existing Camera Link or LVDS interfaces to one of Pleora’s iPORT™ PT1000-CL or PT1000-LV External Frame Grabbers, where the images are converted to GigE. Images from a Sony block camera and be converted into a GigE Vision-compliant video stream by the iPORT SB-GigE External Frame Grabber. Due to Ethernet’s long cable reach, system designers can now move the processing and display computers away from the x-ray system and place them elsewhere in the operating or examination room, even down the hall!

To enhance reliability, Pleora’s external frame grabbers can be set to multicast image data to multiple computing platforms simultaneously, using an off-the-shelf GigE switch. Easy to mount in tight spaces, the Pleora vDisplay™ HDI-Pro External Frame Grabber is an ideal substitute for PCs at viewing stations.

LEARN MORE: The Pleora White Paper Real-Time, High-Resolution Imaging in Diagnostic and Surgical Environments examines the use of GigE Vision interfaces in medical technology, highlights their unique advantages through application examples, and considers future developments in the medical field.


Dexela UK,  specialise in innovative technologies for fast low-dose x-ray imaging with applications ranging from CT systems to x-ray panels used for specimen inspection.  When used for mammography their detector uses a technique that produces a 3D scanning process, so instead of getting the normal 2D projection of a breast, you get a 3D model which is far more valuable for diagnosing abnormalities.

Dexela designed a GigeVision interface for their sensors using the Pleora Technologies IP package.  As well as providing a more compact solution, an Ethernet based interface is also more attractive from a cost point of view. This is particularly important for the smaller detectors which are used for example in x-ray dental installations where the elegant solution provides for flexible cables and longer cable runs.