ARAY Limited used LEADTOOLS to develop software for a system used in microbiology laboratories. This required the capture and analysis of images of petri dishes.
Instead of using the traditional expensive hardware of a video camera with frame grabber, lighting, and specially designed hardware, our hardware-design partners designed a system using a standard off-the-shelf PC and scanner. Although the scanner required special hardware (such as a drawer and petri dish inserts) the hardware costs are less than one-fifth of the costs of traditional hardware.
Tight Time Scales
ARAY developed the software through close cooperation with our customer and our hardware design partners. Within three months a system was developed that proved the principle would work. Within six months the system was ready for laboratory trials. Within one year the product was ready for launch. This was only possible through the use of LEADTOOLS, which provided the image display, manipulation, and processing functions required.
Why we chose LEADTOOLS?
We wanted to quickly prototype the product to prove several innovative new principles. We evaluated several imaging packages and approaches. We chose LEADTOOLS Express version (later upgraded) because of its rich feature set. Primary features considered included scanning, display, image processing, image file formats, OCR support, annotations, and regions of interest.
Was LEADTOOLS Useful?
You bet! It was invaluable. It probably saved us six months. LEADTOOLS functionality used, includes:
- Auto size/repaint, repaint on demand, scroll bars, zoom, Contrast, Gamma, Sharpen, Intensity adjustment
- User Interface:
- Mouse operations (Lead control events), conversion of screen and mouse coordinates to image coordinates
- Processing Manipulation:
- Histogram operations, Intensity adjustments, Despeckle. Sizing and resizing, trimming, filling, Reverse; detection and conversions of image dimensions, color and resolution; accessing individuals pixels of images; combining/masking out parts of images; quick copying and storage of images in memory; ability to pass images to subroutines
- File Operations:
- Load and save
- Text, lines, and geometric shapes; generating template images
LEADTOOLS enabled us to quickly evaluate ideas.
With LEADTOOLS we were able to quickly evaluate many new algorithms and ideas, especially those that involved image manipulation, analysis and display. The core of many of these ideas were implemented using LEADTOOLS functions. Indeed some LEADTOOLS functions generated new ideas and possibilities. As each function has programming examples, they can be tried quickly.
LEADTOOLS and ARAY Provides Effective Solutions to Problems
Some of the main problems solved by LEADTOOLS and ARAY during the software development, include:
|Problem:||Image manipulation, analysis, and display.|
|Problem:||Need to visualize zone-sizing data.|
|Solution:||Use LEADTOOLS to extract data. Send data to Excel spreadsheet, which plots it and prototype calculations.|
|Problem:||Accurate measuring of zone sizes.|
|Solution:||Use LEADTOOLS functions to develop innovative algorithms that cater for the wide image variations.|
|Problem:||User needs to set zone sizes under extreme conditions.|
|Solution:||Use LEADTOOLS functions to handle mouse clicks and display shapes, so users can click and drag zone to required size.|
|Problem:||Commercial Optical Character Recognition package not good enough to recognize small (5 points) characters.|
|Solution:||Use LEADTOOLS functions to Implement OCR algorithm using Neural Net.|
|Problem:||Need to ensure images not mixed up.|
|Solution:||Use LEADTOOLS functions to develop algorithm to find and read bar code on images.|
This project used the latest hardware and software technologies. The main features of the software include:
- Automated image capture
- Control scanner settings and scanning from within program.
- Image display including zoom and user control of lighting
- Image analysis performing calculations on parts of the image
- User interface that is easy to learn and use
- Various reports
- Automated backup
ARAY succeeds in technically challenging projects
ARAY specializes in developing software for instrumentation. These are usually technically challenging projects on the leading edge of technology, requiring new algorithms and complex calculations, as well as the routine databases and user interface features.
Where required, we work with our hardware-design partners, who have more than 30 years experience in designing and producing products involving mechanics, optics, fluidics, and electronics. Projects we have collaborated include urine screening instrument, clinical chemistry analyzer, and machine tool control. Together we succeed in providing effective automated solutions. With LEADTOOLS, we have expanded our repertoire to include imaging solutions.
-Karl Miller, Aray Limited