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Toolbox Components Overview

Introduction

Image Acquisition Toolbox™ enables you to acquire images and video from cameras and frame grabbers directly into MATLAB® and Simulink®. You can detect hardware automatically, and configure hardware properties. Advanced workflows let you trigger acquisitions while processing in-the-loop, perform background acquisitions, and synchronize sampling across several multimodal devices. With support for multiple hardware vendors and industry standards, you can use imaging devices, ranging from inexpensive Web cameras to high-end scientific and industrial devices that meet low-light, high-speed, and other challenging requirements.

The Image Acquisition Toolbox software implements an object-oriented approach to image acquisition. Using toolbox functions, you create an object that represents the connection between MATLAB and specific image acquisition devices. Using properties of the object you can control various aspects of the acquisition process, such as the amount of video data you want to capture. Creating Image Acquisition Objects describes how to create objects.

Once you establish a connection to a device, you can acquire image data by executing a trigger. In the toolbox, all image acquisition is initiated by a trigger. The toolbox supports several types of triggers that let you control when an acquisition takes place. For example, using hardware triggers you can synchronize an acquisition with an external device. Acquiring Image Data describes how to trigger the acquisition of image data.

To work with the data you acquire, you must bring it into the MATLAB workspace. When the frames are acquired, the toolbox stores them in a memory buffer. The toolbox provides several ways to bring one or more frames of data into the workspace where you can manipulate it as you would any other multidimensional numeric array. Bringing Image Data into the MATLAB Workspace describes this process.

Finally, you can enhance your image acquisition application by using event callbacks. The toolbox has defined certain occurrences, such as the triggering of an acquisition, as events. You can associate the execution of a particular function with a particular event. Using Events and Callbacks describes this process.

    Note:   With previous versions of the Image Acquisition Toolbox, the files for all of the adaptors were included in your installation. Starting with version R2014a, each adaptor is available separately through the Support Package Installer. In order to use the Image Acquisition Toolbox, you must install the adaptor that your camera uses. See Image Acquisition Support Packages for Hardware Adaptors for information about installing the adaptors.

Toolbox Components

The toolbox uses components called hardware device adaptors to connect to devices through their drivers. The toolbox includes adaptors that support devices produced by several vendors of image acquisition equipment. In addition, the toolbox includes an adaptor for generic Windows® video acquisition devices.

The following figure shows these components and their relationship.

The Image Acquisition Toolbox Software Components

The Image Processing Toolbox Software Required to Use the Image Acquisition Toolbox Software

The Image Acquisition Toolbox product, including the Image Acquisition Tool, now requires you to have a license for the Image Processing Toolbox™ product starting in R2008b.

If you already have the Image Processing Toolbox™ product, you do not need to do anything.

If you do not have the Image Processing Toolbox product, the Image Acquisition Toolbox™ software R2008a and earlier will continue to work. If you want to use R2008b or future releases, and you have a current active license for the Image Acquisition Toolbox software, you can download the Image Processing Toolbox product for free. New customers will need to purchase both products to use the Image Acquisition Toolbox product.

If you have any questions, please contact MathWorks customer service.

The Image Acquisition Tool (GUI)

The functionality of the Image Acquisition Toolbox software is available in a desktop application. You connect directly to your hardware in the tool and can then set acquisition parameters, and preview and acquire image data. You can log the data to MATLAB in several formats, and also generate an AVI file, right from the tool.

To open the tool, type imaqtool at the MATLAB command line, or select Image Acquisition on the Apps tab in MATLAB. The tool has extensive Help in the desktop. As you click in different panes of the user interface, the relevant Help appears in the Image Acquisition Tool Help pane.

Most of the User's Guide describes performing tasks using the toolbox via the MATLAB command line. To learn how to use the desktop tool, see Getting Started with the Image Acquisition Tool.

Supported Devices

The Image Acquisition Toolbox software includes adaptors that provide support for several vendors of professional grade image acquisition equipment, devices that support the IIDC 1394-based Digital Camera Specification (DCAM), and devices that provide Windows Driver Model (WDM) or Video for Windows (VFW) drivers, such as USB and IEEE® 1394 (FireWire, i.LINK®) Web cameras, Digital video (DV) camcorders, and TV tuner cards. For the latest information about supported hardware, visit the Image Acquisition Toolbox product page at the MathWorks Web site (www.mathworks.com/products/imaq).

The DCAM specification, developed by the 1394 Trade Association, describes a generic interface for exchanging data with IEEE 1394 (FireWire) digital cameras that is often used in scientific applications. The toolbox's DCAM adaptor supports Format 7, also known as partial scan mode. The toolbox uses the prefix F7_ to identify Format 7 video format names.

    Note:   The toolbox supports only connections to IEEE 1394 (FireWire) DCAM-compliant devices using the Carnegie Mellon University DCAM driver. The toolbox is not compatible with any other vendor-supplied driver, even if the driver is DCAM compliant.

You can add support for additional hardware by writing an adaptor. For more information, see Support for Additional Hardware.

    Note:   With previous versions of the Image Acquisition Toolbox, the files for all of the adaptors were included in your installation. Starting with version R2014a, each adaptor is available separately through the Support Package Installer. In order to use the Image Acquisition Toolbox, you must install the adaptor that your camera uses. See Image Acquisition Support Packages for Hardware Adaptors for information about installing the adaptors.

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