The toolbox "FireWire Vision Tools" comprises a small collection of MATLAB drivers for the "UniBrain fire-i" firewire camera (http://www.unibrain.com) or any other firewire camera. Both CMEX drivers as well as S-Functions have been developed to provide high-level access to the underlying hardware as well as to the algorithms of the Color Machine Vision project "CMVision". A user can thus work with a stream of live images from the MATLAB command line (CMEX interface) or by using intuitive Simulink blocks (S-Functions). Two cameras can be daisy chained to allow for simple stereoscopic image processing. A concise user manual is included. A short explanation on how to train the camera to "see" colours can be downloaded from the web site of the project (http://www.mecheng.adelaide.edu.au/robotics/wpage.php?wpage_id=69). The current release is based on MATLAB R2007a, and the version 6.4.4 CMU firewire driver.
Some of the toolbox commands include rudimentary image processing capabilities. It is possible to classify image contents according to a programmable colour range and/or object size criteria. The vision algorithms can be used to determine the centroid coordinates of a detected object. The automatic tracking of coloured objects is particularly useful in machine vision based robotics applications such as the "RoboCup challenge" and other camera controlled systems.
Internally, the drivers gain access to the video capture card through calls to functions provided by the 1394 Digital Camera Driver developed at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Classification of the acquired image data is performed using the algorithms of the Color Machine Vision project (CMVision). This project is an initiative of the CORAL group at the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. CMVision provides "a simple, robust vision system suitable for real time robotics applications" by means of "global low level colour vision at video rates without the use of special purpose hardware".